Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cup of Christmas Cheer

When I refer to a cup of Christmas Cheer I am not referring to spiked eggnog. Although, spiked eggnog could definitely be considered a cup of Christmas Spirit.

As we’ve done for the last few days, let’s talk about giving. Let’s talk about giving a cup of Christmas Cheer.
While you are standing in line to get a cup of coffee or maybe a cup of hot chocolate, why not buy the person behind you a cup? Not sure what the person behind you is going to have, hand the barista a couple of dollars and ask him/her to buy the next Veteran they serve a free cup of coffee on Santa. Or request they buy the next child a free cup of cocoa...with whipped cream.
Coffee not your drink, then perhaps some tea. Whatever your poison, go and offer up a cup or glass of Christmas Spirit (spiked eggnog or other Holiday spirits). Buy the person at the next table.
See a police officer directing traffic on a winter night? Offer him a hot cup of java to make the night pass with a smile and to thank him for his/her service.
Merry Christmas and enjoy a cup of cheer!
 
 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Candy Cane Christmas Giveaway


What is the one candy that says Christmas?

Candy cane!

Candy canes are everywhere this time of year, bringing everyone holiday cheer.

Candy canes are used as decorations on Christmas trees and make a fabulous stirrer in a cup of peppermint cocoa.

Crush a candy, add it to a little white chocolate, top that to a dollop of dark chocolate and you have a holiday favorite of peppermint bark.

A candy can is a sweet treat both kids and adults adore.

How does this fit into our Twelve Days of Christmas Spirit? That's easy.

We're going to give them away!

Here is the plan:

  1. Buy candy canes. Doesn't matter whether the big candy canes or the small ones. They cost about a dollar a box. Come on! If you can buy a cup of coffee, you can buy candy canes to give away.
  2. Take candy canes to mall. Pick a mall, large or small, any mall at all. Malls intimidate you, then go to your local coffee shop. It does not matter where you go, just go!
  3. Open box or boxes of candy canes.
  4. Start handing them out! See that harried, last minute shopper, give her a candy cane and wish him a Merry Christmas. See that dad with dragging his kids through the mall looking for gifts for the wife, give him a candy cane and wish him a Happy Holiday. What about your favorite barista? Give him or her a candy cane and say thank you for a great cup of coffee.
Merry Christmas and have fun!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Give the gift of warmth

It's winter! Have you noticed? Some may have noticed more than others. I live in new England and we are having an unusually warm winter, by warm I mean only down to the 30s.

But it is winter and almost Christmas. With winter and Christmas comes cold and people needing to stay warm, especially those people who walk to work or those people who are homeless and living on the street.

Let's help these people out and give the gift of warmth!

Have you read or seen the articles about people leaving scarves or cold weather gear like hats and mittens on telephone or light poles? Well, let's join the fun!

Do you have any yarn sitting around waiting to be knit or crocheted? Take that yarn and knit up a scarf or crochet a hat and leave them for a complete stranger who could appreciate it.

I will even bet some of you have a scarf that your grandma or relative gave you that you have never even worn and maybe has the tags left on them. Don't let it take up space. Give it away!

Take your hand-knit scarf or your closet hiding scarf that isn't keeping anyone warm to the nearest light pole or telephone, wrap it around the thing and give it away.

Now, if you tie a scarf to a pole most people will probably just walk by thinking it was lost. To avoid this, attach a personal note. Something like you see in the picture to the right or maybe a little more festive.

You could try, "I am not lost, but I am looking for a good home. Take me, I'm yours; a gift of warmth from a total stranger and some holiday cheer. Merry Christmas!" You get the idea.

Have fun with it. Spread warmth and holiday smiles. Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas spirit, running style


Following our Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge, I thought of another way we might be able to give. I call it Christmas Spirit, Running Style.

Give a gift from a runner or to a runner.

As a runner, I know I have lots of shoes and T-shirts. At one time or another a runner buys shoes when they are on sale because he/she thinks, "Oh my gosh! I have to get them while they are cheap!" If the word cheap can actually be applied to running shoes. And then he or she falls in love with a totally different pair of shoes and the ones they bought are sitting in their closet in a box never opened, never worn. Aww. Very sad.

Sound familiar? Are you guilty of this? I know I am. As a matter of fact, I have at least three pair of running shoes sitting in boxes in my closet never opened, never worn.

Hmmm...what should or could I do with these? Last year I held on to them and donated them at the Vermont City Marathon. This year, however, I am going to do something similar to the Christmas in Books. I am going to leave a pair of unused shoes in a box with a note inside, wishing the new runner a Merry Christmas!

Did it cost me anything? Not really. I had already spent the money and it was sitting wasted in my closet. Will it make someone's day? I hope so. Could I be contributing to the insanity of a future runner or walker. That would be fabulous! Even better, I would be giving the gift of health. A pair of running shoes that could spur on someone to meet their New Year's resolution to walk every day, or run their first 5K or better yet, get healthy.

There is more. As a runner who regularly participates in races, I have T-shirts. Lots of them! Where are they? In my closet, under my bed, in a chair, or anywhere else I can find space for them.

Here we have two options. If you have a runner in the family and you know where they store all those unworn T-shirts, why not upcycle them into something useful like a quilt or a handbag or duffle bag. Heck, why not placemats for the truly obsessed runner in the family.

If you're a runner and don't wear your race T-shirts and want to see them put to good use then give them away. Wrap them up and drop them off at a homeless shelter or a women's shelter. Or, if you are feeling energetic then take a handful on your next run and tie a few to various telephone poles with a Christmas ribbon and a note wishing the future wearer a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Christmas in Books

Last night I visited a local bookstore. This is a regular occurrence for me as I am a HUGE reader and lover of books, not to mention an author.

I was on a mission for a couple of Christmas themed books.

I picked up two books by a couple of my favorite authors: "A Knights Bridge Christmas" by Carla Neggers and "Christmas in Mustang Creek" by Linda Lael Miller.

I will probably have them both read by the weekend and will need others. What can I say? I love to read!

When you think of Christmas gifts for kids or teenagers or even adults, what do you think of?

Most people think of electronics or clothes, or jewelry, and everything else in between.

What about BOOKS?!

In this day of electronics, we have Kindle and Nook and even phones to read a book. Yes, you could buy someone a giftcard to Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Better yet, you could share a book you loved. Share your joy!

This year I'm giving all of my relatives a book. (Oops! I hope none of them are reading this.) I shared with each of them a copy of a book I enjoyed or an author I love to read. Some of the books are even autographed by the authors. How fun is that?!

Anyway, as I was standing in the checkout line at the bookstore I noticed this bin of books just looking for a home. It was a bin of books that needed a buyer so they could be donated to a child. How can you not give a book to a child? You are not only offering them a Christmas gift, but you're offering them a chance at literacy.

Books make great gifts, super stocking stuffers, and open a new world for a child or adult to see and experience.

Can't afford to buy another book? Got any books on a bookshelf? Then take one off the shelf and to your local coffee shop and leave an already read book behind.

Yes, you read that right. Take a book you've read, add a little note on the inside telling the reader that you left this book so someone else could enjoy it and wish them a Merry Christmas and leave the book.

I do this all the time! If you ever visit Panera in Bedford, NH then you may have spotted a book next to the fireplace at one time or another. As a matter of fact...look for more this weekend.

And as my Twelve Days of Christmas Spirit blog says, let's give ALL YEAR. Share your love of books with others, with total strangers, with someone who maybe can't afford to buy a book. Read and share!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Remember our Troops and Veterans this holiday season

Many of you know I am a runner. Actually, in the past year I have become an ultra runner. What is an ultra runner? Someone who runs or in my case run/walks more than a marathon (26.2 miles).

You also know I am a huge supporter of our Veterans and giving back. Every Christmas I make it my mission to make as many Veterans Christmas special. But, as my earlier post Twelve Days of Christmas Spirit Challenge mentioned, we want the spirit of giving to continue throughout the year.

In that hope, I have combined my love of running with the goal of giving throughout the year by registering for the Rock the Ridge 50-miler with the goal of raising money for Team RWB whose mission it is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity.

This is the second year I am running for Team RWB and the Veterans and as it is the season of love and charity, I am hoping you all will help me in supporting this wonderful organization and the people who have served our country to keep us safe. Let's show our Veterans our love and thanks by giving back.

If you have it in your heart and have money in your pocket you can spare, please help click this link to my crowdfunding page and donate at Denise's Rock the Ridge for Team RWB funding site.

If you're not ready to donate at my site then please, thank an active Service Member or Veteran this Christmas. Thank him or her for their service, offer a hug, a handshake of gratitude, or buy a member of our military a cup of coffee.

Happy holidays and a big thank you to our Troops and our Veterans. Merry Christmas!

In the spirit

Today I was in the holiday spirit. Today I played Santa at the office, delivering gift bags to the team of engineers whom I have the extreme pleasure to work with and several co-workers who make my worklife interesting and many times fun.

Is it just me or is there any greater gift than giving?

It doesn't matter how much or how little you spend, whether its store bought or handmade.

Remember, the old addage, "It's the thought that counts." There are reasons we have such sayings. Because they are based in fact.

Letting someone know that you thought about them is a wondrous gift. It could be a text, and email, or in the case of 10 days before Christmas, a small gift bag with little items to make their day a little more sweet and enjoyable.

You can handmake a card, or in my case my mom (the crafty woman in the family) handmade Christmas candybar wrappers and I stuffed them with the chocolate bars.

Why not offer up a little warmth for those cold winter days with a mug and a jar of hot cocoa mix and a bag of mini-marshmallows. Sweeten up a day with a box of chocolates or a tin of Christmas cookies. Or offer up something simple and seasonal like a candy cane.

Whatever you do, give it from the heart and offer it with cheer, for the smile you receive will last all year.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Twelve Days of Christmas Spirit Challenge

What is Christmas about?

I was hanging with a couple of girlfriends the other day and we were talking about Christmas. We talked about how it has become so commercialized that the true spirit of giving has become almost lost amongst the commercials, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, madness.

It’s about buying everything for your kids or buying the most expensive gift for a loved one even though they can probably buy it themselves.
Do you open your gifts with your children and on Christmas morning ask, “Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?”

When did it become about receiving? And seriously, everything you wanted? Is this what we want our children to believe? That all they have to do is wait for one day in December and everything they want will be packaged up in a pretty box and topped off with a bow, waiting under a Christmas tree?
We’ve lost the spiritual meaning of Christmas. And I don’t mean the spirit in the sky or wherever you believe it might be. I mean the spirit inside us. Each of us.

During this conversation yesterday, one girlfriend mentioned how when her daughter was younger they would take her daughter’s allowance and go buy toys to give to Toys for Tots. She taught her daughter that the true Christmas Spirit was about giving, not receiving. They still donate every year.
I have friends that will serve Christmas dinner at a homeless shelter. Of course, they serve at the homeless shelter more than on just Christmas, but he, his wife, and their two children give their time and their caring to those less fortunate. The spirit of Christmas.

Me, I have a thing for giving back. I want to make the Christmas of our Veterans a happy one. Every year a friend of mine who owns a small business in Bedford, NH called Just Naturals puts out the Veterans gift tree on Veterans Day. Then anyone who wants to give picks a tag from the tree that has a name, the branch of service the Veteran served, his/her age, and the list of what that person would like for Christmas. It’s a humbling experience.
They ask for the simplest things, the things you and I probably take for granted. They ask for cookies and candy, toiletries, socks, hats and gloves, sweatshirts and sweatpants. Occasionally you will see bigger items like a blanket, a comforter, or a winter coat. I saw all of these this year on the tags that I pulled. These are the people that I want to give everything they want, not because they asked for it but because they gave everything they had in serving our country and keeping us safe. This year my oldest Veteran was Robert, a 97 year-old Army Veteran. Merry Christmas, Robert!

This year I even reached out via Facebook and posted about my Veterans and the outpouring of support was amazing. The next thing you know a runner I just met a month before at the Marine Corps Marathon sent me money. An author friend of mine in Spain sent me money. Another author donated a 5 pound box of peppermint lollipops, and yet another donated clothing. There are many more people like these wonderful ladies who understand it’s better to give than receive.
But you know what? You do receive.

You donate your time, your energy, and sometimes even your money and it fills you up. It starts out small with a tingling feeling in the pit of your stomach that you can’t quite explain. Then when you’re wrapping the eighth package of socks to donate to a total stranger a smile curves your lips. When you place all the candy and cookies into a gigantic box, your heart skips a beat and starts tapping out to the beat of It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. When you package the box of toiletries, winter hats, and gloves, etc. for the Veterans home that is for those men/women getting their lives together after spending it on the streets and homeless, it hits you like a sledge hammer or one of those sappy commercials that you can’t help but cry. And when you stuff that comforter into a Christmas bag and all you hope is that Robert likes the color blue there's a warmth that feels your soul.
The true spirit of Christmas is in giving, and in that giving you receive so much more.

Those of you who know me know that while I may go overboard at Christmastime giving back, I mean how can I not, I also give back or pay it forward all year long. To quote Charles Dickens, “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”
Will you? Can you?

Sometimes it takes a little push, a little incentive to get people to move in the right direction. Let’s see if we can do that.
We are 12 days away from Christmas. Less than two weeks. Your mission, should you choose to take it, is to give. Give to a total stranger an act of Christmas Kindness.

For the next 12 days - Give your time, your energy, your scarf from around your neck, or your money. Whatever you can afford to give. Give to a stranger.
I will bet you that if you do this, by Christmas morning you will have the Spirit of Christmas and you won’t soon forget it. Who knows, you might keep it in your heart all year long.

I hope you do and I wish you a very merry Christmas filled with love and the joy of giving!

Monday, September 7, 2015

What I discovered on a mountain trail

Start and looking up!
This weekend I did a trail run on a mountain in Vermont. This was not like the little 4-miler I did a few weeks ago, but a mountain run in the woods on various types of trails, rock, grass, dirt, creek crossings, etc.


Up!
The first thing I learned was holy moly but that mountain is tall and steep. But I made it up it! Overall, this was actually the easy part of the event. And by easy I mean, I was exhausted when I reached the summit. I’m talking bone weary, muscles burning, but I still had energy.

When the race director tells you repeatedly look for the flags and that there are flags everywhere, you believe him and your think, “Yea! I can handle this.”
Then reality sets in. Where were all the flags? Okay, there were flags in the overly tall and sometimes flattened down grass. Check!
Where were the flags in the woods? First wood trail there were flags. They guided me through, no problem. Made it over the creek crossing, my first, and was happy with myself.

The second set of woods, where were the flags? I’m all by myself at this point and I’m doing good, loving the weather and the scenery and then I enter the trees. I’m going along, following a trail and realize I see no flags. The race director instructed, "If you don’t see flags turn around because you probably missed them." So I get about a half mile in and turn around. Found the flags and said yeah, okay, this must be right. I turn back around and do it again. I see no evidence of people having been there before me except the occasional hiking boot print.
Then I start to climb. By climb, I mean traverse over rocks, which I had not expected. Pull myself up and over.  Oh, yeah, did I mention at this point that I believe I am lost. You recall when you were a kid how when you got scared your heart would race and your palms would sweat. Well, the same thing holds true when you are lost in the woods. Every few yards I would yell out to see if anyone was around. Nope. Just me and the bears.

Did I forget to mention the bears? Yes, it’s bear hunting season in Vermont. So now every noise that wasn’t a buzzing sound of a gigantic fly or bee was a bear. Talk about panic attack!
The only savior for me was the fact that I had my phone with me, thank goodness, and could post a message to Facebook or call someone if I really lost it. It was a close call.

Then I looked up....instead of down where the pink and orange flags were supposed to be located. I noticed a white marker on a tree. Thank goodness! That white paint indicated it was a marked mountain trail. Of course I couldn't tell you which marked trail. I just kept climbing and watching for those markers. Then I saw sunlight streaming in. Oh, hallelujah. A short hike later and I was out! Sunshine beat down on me and oh, look there’s the first place runner running past me.
Flags! I saw flags again! The bad part about the flags is that you didn’t know which way to go. In many spots you could have gone left or right and never know which way. Occasionally there were arrows but they were few and far between.




Cinderella Man
The next couple miles were good. For the record, a great downhill song to listen to is Cinderella Man by Eminem. That song on repeat made the downhill trek fun and rhythmic. All was good until I hit another wooded trail. At first I was smiling and happy. I saw other runners and hikers headed in the opposite direction but at least there were people. All was good until I reached the next aid station and had to head back up. No people. No flags. And yes, the mind went in the direction it should not have. It went with, “I’m lost and is that a bear?”
Can I just say, while I have a great imagination, you sorta have to in order to be a writer; I do not normally let my mind play tricks on me. But I SWEAR I was being tracked in the woods by a bear. At one point I was so freaked out that I yelled at the invisible bear, “Go find your dinner elsewhere!” Nope, not kidding.

I finally made it out of the woods only to find more flags and me wondering, “Which way do I go?” All I can say is this. Whichever direction got me off the mountain. Down! Go down the mountain.
Portion of downhill
Oh, and that was another trip in itself. Traveling over tall grass that was occasionally smushed down because the mountain’s million dollar lawnmower had broken down so they could not mow the path was not an easy feat. Discovering that while the sun was high and bright, the ground was far from dry made the trek all the more eventful. Do not ask me how many times I slipped and fell. Suffice it to say more than a half dozen and I have the grass stains and dirt stains to prove it.

And yeah, my feet kept sloshing around in my new trail shoes. No matter how tight I pulled the laces my feet kept moving around and going downhill my big toes kept hitting the front of the shoe. Thank goodness my toenails are painted hot pink right now; otherwise I’d probably see the nails are black and blue.
Did I mention while I was at one of the aid stations I heard about a guy who fell and broke his leg on the trail?

Get me off this mountain! At this point while the body was willing, plenty of energy and strength in the legs, the mind had gone haywire. The mind had shutdown. I was no longer enjoying the beautiful scenery, the mountain views, and the fresh air. I couldn’t even put in my headphones and tune out the world. As my ex would say, “If it ain’t fun, don’t do it.” It was no longer fun.
When I reached the bottom of the mountain I was grateful that I was in one piece and vowed that I would never do that again.

It’s a day later and you know what that means? It means I’ve had an opportunity to reflect. 
I’ve learned a couple of things. I learned I’m a lot tougher than I look or tougher than I think I am. I may have been lost, but I found my way out…twice. I may have been scared but I told that invisible bear I was not dinner. And I made it out in one piece. I’m stronger both mentally and physically for the experience.

Would I do it again? Yes.
Did you see that? No hesitation.

But before I take on another mountain trail I need to do more hiking so I can go up a little faster and be comfortable with following a trail without markers. I need to get better fitting shoes so I don’t get black toes or bruised arches. I need to take bear spray in case it is bear season. Cuz there is no way this girl would be outrunning a bear. I need to embrace the trail, no matter it cinder, dirt, grass, single track, technical, marked or unmarked, flat or not so flat (in this case 17% grade).
Side note: Although I did get lost and was a tad, okay, a lot freaked, there were moments where this peacefulness came over me and I would pause to soak it in, tilt my head back, take a deep breath and let go. I also had to laugh at myself. Climbing over those rocks in search of sunlight and the aid station I felt like a kid…when I wasn’t biting my nails. When I fell and slid down the mountain I had to laugh or cry. I chose to laugh. I mean how many adults slide down grassy hills on their butts like they did when they were kids. Did I mention going pee in the woods? That was a first. No port-a-potties on this run.

Life is an adventure. Live it. Embrace it. All of it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Thanks to my ulra-marathon running crew!

Many ultra-runners have a race crew that goes along to the races and meets the runner at various points to provide support, encouragement, nutrition, and sometimes a pacer on the long run.

I do, but my crew is a virtual crew. My crew helps me get to the race start, prepares for the long run, and helps me recuperate afterward.
I want to thank my crew for their hard work and dedication to helping me achieve my 50 mile ultra-marathon goal this year.

Let me start with my trainer, Jon Tobey of The Fitness Factory (http://fitnessfactorynh.com/). Jon and I started working together a few years ago when I first started running and my first goal was to be able to run a half marathon in Ireland without dying of pain. I did! Now, Jon and I work together each week and each week we work toward a combined mission of making me more fit and achieving an annual running goal. This year’s was to run a 50-miler. Mission accomplished! But it’s not the last.
Jon Tobey will tell you my main weak spots are my hamstrings and IT bands. There are others, of course, but when it comes to running, especially up hills, these are my “you need work” zones. By the end of too many races and long runs my upper legs want to give up. Not so in my 50-miler last weekend. A 50-miler that consisted of 7500 feet of elevation gain and loss. As a matter of fact, at mile 30 my legs felt so good I was running the descents like I hadn’t a care in the world. And loving it!

After a long run the discomfort and pain in my legs is usually so uncomfortable that I spend half the night awake and whimpering. Not so on this run! This achievement is a direct correlation to the hard work with my fabulous, can’t say enough about him, my trainer, Jon Tobey. If you want to reach a fitness goal, I highly recommend Jon Tobey of The Fitness Factory (http://fitnessfactorynh.com/). Tell him Denise sent you.
Another great team member in this long-term goal of running and fitness is my chiropractor, Mark Stagnone of Stagnone Chiropractic (http://www.stagnonechiropractic.com/). I found Mark about a year and a half ago, maybe more when I woke up one day in excruciating pain in my lower back. Thank goodness I found Mark! He made the pain go away almost immediately. Turns out I have a problem with my SI joint. Basically, it just doesn’t like to stay where it should. Unless, of course, when I’m running. No joke! My body likes to run, but it doesn’t like to sit. Unfortunately, for my job and my commute I do a lot of walking.

Mark has been an amazing asset to my crew in that he keeps me upright and without pain. We discuss my insane running schedule while he manipulates my spine to help me achieve my goals. If you want someone who knows about athletes, who cares about his patients, and wants to help you achieve a health goal then I recommend you contact Stagnone Chiropractic (http://www.stagnonechiropractic.com/), ask for Phyllis and have her get you an appointment with Mark Stagnone.
The third member of my race crew is my massage therapist, Amie Anderson of Cassandra Salon and Spa (http://www.cassandrasalon.com/). Amie has the magic touch when it comes to working the kinks out of sore, tight, and often obstinate muscles. What I like about Amie is that she will try different techniques to get those muscles to loosen up. A little elbow here, a knucle there, or a heated stone in that muscle. Amie has seen me crawl onto the massage table, seen my calf muscles so tight she probably wanted to weep, but she has been there for every pre-race massage and every post-race ‘please help me I can’t move’ massage.

After I did my first half marathon a few years ago I think both Amie and I wept as she kneaded every muscle in my legs. HA! She has helped my poor calf muscles go from being tight as a pulled bow to being somewhat pliable. And after this 50-miler, Amie was pleasantly surprised that I not only walked in to the salon, but I didn’t yelp in agony when she dug in.
Amie Anderson, massage therapist is the best! She will talk you through the pain and get you to that relaxation zone. She will remind you to hydrate, which is good because who doesn’t need a little reminder. She will ask you if there are any zones you want her to concentrate on. For me, always the legs, especially calves and then the back. Thanks to Amie my recuperation time has shortened to days instead of weeks.

If you need a massage whether to relax or recuperate, please contact Cassandra Salon and Spa (http://www.cassandrasalon.com/) and schedule an appointment with Amie Anderson.
To these three professionals, I cannot thank you all enough for your effort on my behalf to help me reach an unbelievable goal. A year ago I would never have attempted an ultra-marathon, let alone a 50 mile ultra-marathon. But with you all as part of my team and your encouragement, I was destined to succeed.

THANK YOU!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Why take a car when I can run 50 miles?

I completed my first 50 mile race. It was exciting, fun, scary, nerve wracking, painful, but absolutely the best challenge both physically and mentally.

On Saturday, May 2 at 6 AM I started the Rock the Ridge 50-miler at the Mohonk Preserve in Gardiner, NY.
I was up at 2:30 AM to eat and get ready then left the hotel at 4 AM to get to the parking area where a bus picked up the runners and dropped us off at the start. The start was at the Gatehouse of Mohonk Preserve. There all the runners stood around talking, taking photos, eating more, making last minute gear checks and changes, checking in bags for drop-offs to be used later in the race, and of course used the port-o-potties.

After the National Anthem was sung the race director kicked off the race and everyone took off, everyone with their own plan of attack. My ‘attack’ was to finish, preferably in one piece and standing upright. You think I am joking? Nope. Since this would be the farthest I would have gone on foot then my goal truly was to complete it.
With that goal in mind, I put a couple of audiobooks on my headphones to help keep me at a slower pace. That worked pretty well until the headphones died at about 10 and a half hours into the run. Luckily, I was mostly prepared for this as I brought a second pair but those had music on them, but that was good. I needed a little kick in the butt to keep me moving.

I wore two sport watches; one was my fitbit surge (which is supposed to last 7 days…and never has) and the other was my Garmin 910. The fitbit only lasted 10 hours, but until then it was right on the money and tracking. The Garmin lasted the entire time, but it’s tracking on distance seemed to be about 1.5 miles behind from the fitbit and the actual distance markers on the trail. That was annoying when trying to gauge one aid station to the next and of course that last push to the finish line.
I had some great advice from a group of ultrarunners who said to break the race up into pieces and to do that aim for each aid station. This worked fabulously! Kind of like baby steps for fifty (50) miles.

The aid stations were terrific. Plenty of fluids, fruit, chips, and various other snacks including potatoes and chili to help fuel the body covered the tables. I did bring my own energy food, like squeezable applesauce, beef sticks, chia granola bars, and lifesavers so I didn’t have to rely on the aid stations, but I did partake. The volunteers were fabulous, helping you reload, get your drop bag, or just plain give up a chair so you could change your socks. Thank you volunteers! This message can never been said enough, especially to those that were out there in the wilderness late at night to give us a glass of Gatorade or water and generally make certain we were moving forward with a little cheer of encouragement.
Lake around mile 30-something
A cell phone was absolutely necessary during the race. Why? Obviously for some sense of security especially when aid stations were as much as ten miles apart. The camera in the phone was also good to push myself to enjoy the scenery as I whizzed or more likely walked by and not focus solely on the finish line. It was fabulous as evidenced by the images of the waterfall, the lake, and the hills. Besides those, I had the experience of almost stepping on a black snake. Thanks goodness it made its hissing sound just in the nick of time. But boy, you’ve never seen this girl run so fast up a hill in your life. Hands flailing and yes, I probably screamed. But I also saw the most beautiful white-tailed deer that stopped, stared and then bounded off before it even crossed my mind to pull out my phone for a photo.
I would have paid anything to jump in!

I learned a couple of things during this event. First, wear your hydration pack BEFORE actually using it so you know where it is going to rub. My shoulders paid the consequences but luckily I had Body Glide with me and applied that everywhere and that alleviated it somewhat. My shoulders are a tad sore today from the weight of the pack and not the actual chafing so that’s good. However, a hydration pack was the perfect idea because I never ran out of fluids and when eating a beef stick to get sodium and protein in my body I had liquids to flush it down.

One of the most important lessons for me was to learn that when they say cinder trail that means cinder block, that means hard, and that it is not softer than asphalt. Tip to myself: wear trail shoes! I thought my typical shoes would be good and cushy. NOT!
When night descended I resorted to a headlamp. Like the good runner I am I attached it to my head over my very vibrant yellow hat. Great! Bring on the darkness. Except, just FYI, if you have vertigo the use of a headlamp is not so cool. My depth perception got completely skewed where I thought the grass (where there was grass) was a foot tall when in fact it was a couple inches. And my vision was so weird that it was like I had tunnel vision. Carrying the lamp in my hand resolved those issues. Thank goodness!

Sunset after I reached mile 42.2
I probably should have done some late night runs BEFORE this race as well because let’s face it; running at night, in the woods was a little creepy. Remember when you were a kid out on a walk with your friends late at night and you heard something rustle the leaves? What did you do? You screamed and bolted for home. Okay, I’m no longer that little girl, but my heart raced and I kept flashing my light around making certain the bear was not actually following me. It was a tad unnerving. Plus, since the mile markers were only every 5 miles apart, and the arrows marking the direction to go were not abundant I became a little worried that I would go the wrong way. Day time that was no issue. Sunset, well, the mind does play tricks. Cruel, evil tricks. But since I am writing this I obviously survived and got out of the woods.
Let’s talk hills. I HATE them! But honestly, because I went in with the right attitude I walked most the inclines and jogged the downs. Okay, the descents to me are like slides at a park. Wheeee! This race had some of both with over 7500 feet of elevation gain and loss, the most I have ever done. My body did well. Legs were great! I could have kept on going…except the BLISTERS!

No matter the amount of sock changes (three in this race) and the amount of Body Glide I applied, I still managed to get blisters. No, not your teeny tiny, oh aren’t they cute blisters. I got blisters between toes, on top of toes, and the mother of all blisters at the joint of the big toe where it meets the actual ball of the foot. Excruciating! In all seriousness, this was the only issue for me physically. And when I hit mile 40 every time I didn’t pick up my foot high enough and I stubbed my shoe on a rock I was no longer a lady, but the foul-mouthed brawler who wanted to cry. How’s that for an image?
One of the many hills.
You know what though? Besides wanting to punch every rock that bit at my blisters, and the pain of every step, I mentally pushed past it and willed the mind to close out the pain. It worked off and on and worked even better when a couple of runners who were behind me caught up for the last five miles and we pushed each other on to persevere.

I will state for the record when we saw the sign that said ‘Home Stretch’ we all wanted to know how far that meant. A mile, half a mile? In this case it turned out to be a little over two miles. You probably think, two miles, no big deal. WRONG! After 16 plus hours on your feet, two hours is an eternity. I think the three of us will state that the home stretch was by far the longest section of the race. It was never ending! And the finish line, when we finally saw the lights never felt like it was getting closer.

But it did! And we crossed the line. At the finish there were more race volunteers to cheer us home, offer us a hug, a smile, and a boxed lunch. The race director spoke with me at the finish and because I was a late entry he felt bad that my name was not going to be on the bib so he printed a label with my name on it and affixed it to my bib. It sounds like something so small, but when you are on a course and someone yells out your name, it gives you the warm and fuzzies all over. Thanks, Ken!
To the couple who hooked up with me in the last five miles, I cannot thank you enough for helping take my mind off the blisters. And to all the other runners I met and spoke with that day. It was a pleasure.

If you are looking for a 50-miler, whether your first or your fifteenth, I would highly recommend the Rock the Ridge Endurance Challenge. The funds raised are for a worthy cause and it’s a well-run event with amazing volunteers. Thank you volunteers!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

50-mile Challenge for Team RWB and Veterans

In just ten days I take on the Rock the Ridge 50-mile Endurance Challenge. Sounds daunting doesn’t it? Hills, both up and down. . .lots of hills. Which will, of course, lead to sore muscles, aching feet, and exhaustion. Wow! I look forward to it. The adventure and the beauty of the Mohonk Preserve will even out the challenge of the elevation, not to mention the overall time on my feet.

But why am I really participating in the 50-mile Rock the Ridge? I’m participating as my way of paying it forward to our Veterans.
This 50-mile challenge is nothing compared to the challenges our Veterans faced every day while they were active in the military and serving to protect us and our freedoms. This 50-mile challenge is nothing compared to the re-acclimation of the Veterans back to life after active duty, the task of finding a job, of dealing (in many cases) with PTSD, of becoming part of another type of family and an active part of the community.

This is where Team Red White and Blue comes in. Team RWB's mission is to enrich the lives of America’s Veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. Physical fitness and sports are proven ways to bring people together and set the conditions to build meaningful relationships. In Team RWB's case, they provide veterans with renewed camaraderie, a sense of purpose, and shared accomplishment.
My goal is to play an active role in helping Team RWB accomplish their mission and to give back to our Veterans by being participating in these events and helping raise funds and awareness. Fundraising is an even bigger challenge because it doesn’t rely on me and my feet and my determination. I have that well under control. If Veterans can stand the wall to protect me then I can surely spend sixteen hours on my feet walking and moving forward toward a finish line that has food and new friends waiting my arrival.
Yes, the challenge for me is the fundraising as it relies on me to reach out to people and convince them -  you to help. It relies on me to twist your arm (figuratively speaking) to reach deep in your pockets and pull out what you can afford to donate. It doesn’t have to be a fortune, but a few bucks. Do you buy a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks in the morning? Then think of this as a cup of coffee with a Veteran. Maybe you treat yourself to lunch or dinner out once a week. Why not skip it one week and donate that amount to Team RWB and the Veterans.

Click here to donate.

Think of donating as a way of saying thank you to a Veteran. If you want to call out a Veteran when you make a donation, leave a comment on the donation site and tell that Veteran that the donation was made in their honor. Or leave him/her a note on my blog in the comments.

On behalf of myself, Team RWB and Veterans, we thank you for your generosity and support.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Happy birthday to my mom!

Happy birthday to the best mom!
Let me tell you about my mother. She is the fabulous!

Oh, you want to know more? Well, okay.
My mom is a creative and talented woman. Since the time I was a kid she was making clothes for us (me and my sisters) and our dolls. Now that I’m grown she no longer makes clothes for me, but she does make quilts. As a matter of fact, I am waiting on her latest creation any time now. (No pressure, Mom.)

This same woman taught me to tie my shoes. We did not do the bunny ears in the hole trick. Nope. My mom showed me how to do it several times. Then one day when I asked her to help me she decided it was time I figured it out. Mom went into the bathroom and shut the door all the while encouraging me that I could do it, talking me through the steps, but she would not open the door until I tied my shoe. Did I tell you how smart she was? Cuz, yes, that is exactly what I needed and I tied my shoe. I’ve been tying them ever since.

She also taught me to make my bed. To this day, the minute my feet hit the floor I turn and make the bed before doing anything else. See what moms do? They influence you throughout your life.

Mom taught me to bake and cook. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love the baking or eating baked goods. I recall the very first thing my mother taught me to bake was chocolate chip cookies. Our first house had a kitchen with counters that were Pepto Bismol pink with gold specks. Can you imagine? That would be considered retro today. Anyway, she pulled up a step stool and I stood on it while she handed me ingredients, let me do the stirring, and together we put the spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet. Then waited, watching the timer. Tick-tick-tick. DING! When the cookies were baked, mom and I ate the first two and shared a glass of milk. Wow! Can you believe I remember that like it was yesterday?

Mom was my number one cheerleader at all my events. Whether soccer or softball games, or spelling bees, you would find my mom in the stands or on the sidelines yelling and cheering, and probably even praying. As an adult this hasn’t changed. She supports my desire to run as far as I can, even if she thinks I am a little off my rocker at wanting to do a 50 or 100-mile run. Then again, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

My mother is the strongest woman I know. Here is a woman who after suffering for years with some unknown skin irritation was finally diagnosed (6 years later) with a very, extremely, we’re talking only about 2500 people have this rare form of skin cancer and has been fighting it and winning the battle for more than 10 years now. She doesn’t sit around feeling sorry for herself, she stands up and battles the disease with both fists, a kick to the groin, and since she is a girl I say she even pulls hair. No doubt, my mother will kick cancer’s backside and she will do it because she knows she has her family behind her. The family she created and nurtured. And we are all the luckier for it.

So, on this day, I want to wish my mom, the strongest most influential woman in my life a very special and happy birthday.

Happy birthday, mom! I love you.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Feed your soul, pay it forward

"It is in giving that we receive." -Prayer of St. Francis, 13th century saint. "When you give, you begin to live, you get the world."

When we give we think we are helping others. While that is true, we are helping ourselves and feeding our soul. The interesting part is that to give and at the same time receive doesn’t take a lot. It doesn’t have to cost you monetarily. It wouldn’t have to cost anything more than a kind word, a smile, or your time.
The effort for many is an unconscious effort of a friendly gesture to a stranger or a friend that lifts something inside the other person. A simple act of smiling at a stranger on the street or saying good morning to a homeless person acknowledges that you see them and that they are human. Not so difficult is it?

If you know me you know I am a firm believer in paying it forward. Paying it forward feeds my soul. Paying it forward turns the focus away from ourselves, gives rather than receives, and generates joy.

Pay it forward through random acts of kindness. Here are some examples of random acts:
Smile at the person walking down the sidewalk in your direction. It’s funny, but where I grew up we did this. Now, it’s as if everyone is interested in their feet as they pass you by. Even if the person is staring down, having a conversation with their feet, say hi and see if they don’t smile.

Put change in an expired meter. If you see a meter expired and you have change in your pocket, drop a couple coins in and save the unknown recipient of this kind gesture from getting a parking ticket.
Let a car cut in front of you. Now I know many of you think that getting to your destination is far more important, but that little act of kindness could result in that person getting to the hospital in time to see a sick one before he/she goes into surgery. Didn’t consider that, did ya?

Leave a copy of a good book at your favorite cafĂ©. I am a HUGE reader and I do this quite a bit. I’ll be darned if I am going to hoard all those books, so why not share your favorite author with others and just maybe that person can’t afford to go buy a book for $8 or more.
Thank the customer service person who helped you and use their name whenever possible. If you are like me you are probably a creature of habit. There are certain places that I frequent and you can bet I know the names of all those people who provide a service to me. You know what else? They know my name too.

Tip a server…generously. These folks work hard for those tips. I know! Been there and done that. Even if you go in for just a cup of coffee, leave more than the cost of the coffee.
Mentor someone. Share your knowledge and experience with others. Maybe a friend has a computer and doesn’t know how to use it. Take some time and give him/her some pointers. Help a teenager with his/her first car change the oil or brakes.

Make a donation. Pick your favorite charity and donate the extra $20 you have left from your paycheck. As a runner, I know most race events are for the purposes of raising money for one charitable organization or another. Make a donation beyond the entry fee. Or my personal favorite, if there is race day registration pay for the next person who walks up to the tent.
Compliment a stranger. If you see a nice haircut or a beautiful scarf on someone then tell them. It costs nothing and you probably put a smile on their face.

Give a used coat or shoes away. If you see a homeless person in need of a coat and you have one that’s been hanging in your closet not used, give it to someone who will benefit from the warmth of the coat and your generosity. As a runner you probably have boatloads of shoes you have barely worn or didn’t work for you. Rather than leave them in the closet clogging your floor, or in my case, my entryway, donate them.

Volunteer. Such a simple word, but probably the most difficult for some because it involves time. But that time you give will make such a difference. Volunteer at a sporting event or a food pantry.
Thank a soldier. These are the people who put their lives on the line for all of us and our freedoms. Thank them for that service and sacrifice. Heck, do what I do. If I park next to a vehicle that has military veteran plates on the car, leave a note thanking him/her for their service.

Hold the door open. It used to be this was second nature for folks but in the last years I have noticed a trend of everyone in a hurry and never stopping to look behind them. This is such a simple act. Look over your shoulder and if you see someone coming take the extra five seconds to hold the door.
Pay the toll. This happens to be one of my favorites. If you’re going through a toll booth why not offer up an extra dollar and pay for the vehicle behind you.

Redirect birthday gifts. If you’re like me, there’s probably not much you REALLY need, but there are others that do. Tell everyone to make a donation to your favorite charity.
Spare your loose change. If you see a person in line at the grocery store a little short on cash, stick your hand in your pocket and pull out that change or a dollar and help them out. Even the little kid just trying to buy a candy bar or soda pop. While in the Chicago airport the woman in front of me card was turned down and she didn’t have cash. I paid for her caramel popcorn. You’d have thought she won the lottery. She thanked and hugged me and wished me safe travels. Hey! Who am I to come between a woman and her popcorn? I can relate!

Donate blood. It’s a lifesaving act.
Drop off your old eyeglasses. Check around your house and I bet you will find at least one or two pair of old eyeglasses you no longer can wear. Take them to LensCrafters or another eyeglass place and donate them to those who can’t afford them.

Tweet something positive. Social media has a huge impact on us all so why not use it for good. Tweet a positive experience with a business or a person and help spread the word.
Donate food to local animal shelters. Cats and dogs are people too and they need help.

Offer up your seat. If you take a train or a bus give up your seat. You probably just made some tired person’s day.
Buy a lemonade. When summer hits, and it will with a vengeance after this winter there will be plenty of kid lemonade stands. Instead of walking or driving by, pause for a few minutes, have a chat with the kid and buy a cup of his or her lemonade. You are helping a young entrepreneur.

Donate to a project. Speaking of young entrepreneurs...donate to a project or Kickstarter and help an aspiring business get off the ground.

Hug a friend. Some days all it takes is a hug.
Buy a cup of coffee. At your local coffee shop and have a few extra dollars in your pocket? Hand them over to your barista and ask them to buy the next person in line a cup of coffee. If you’re in the drive thru ask the cashier what the person behind you ordered and pay for their order. Want to go to a bigger scale? Start a fund at your local coffee shop so others can donate and help give the gift of caffeine.

Pick up litter. Yes, this requires you to bend over and to possibly get dirty, but think of how nice the area where this trash is will look.

Help a sick person out. Take some soup or a box of Kleenex over to a sick neighbor.

Donate old blankets. There are plenty of shelters out there that would love to see you walk in with a pile of lightly worn, clean blankets. And the people who snuggle up under them will have a warm night.

Send a care package. Send a care package to a military troop overseas.  What a nice gesture and a way to remind them that there are people at home who care.

Support a friend. I have many friends that are authors so it’s fun to show support by attending a book signing. Or maybe your friend’s kid is raising funds for a field trip. Buy that candy bar or wrapping paper. Every little bit helps.

 Got any other ideas?  Share them.
Pay it forward and while you’re at it feed your soul.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

What the contents of your vehicle says about you

What’s inside your vehicle?

I was driving to do my usual Sunday morning breakfast and writing when I glanced around my truck and decided that what’s inside a person’s vehicle must say something about them. So let’s see if that’s true.
Here’s what you’ll find in my truck and in my car:

Safety pins…lots of them. And no, they are not the kind you use on kid diapers. Uh, yeah, these come from all the race bibs I wear and then discard when I get in the truck.

Starbucks coffee cup spill stoppers; you know those green things you stick in the hole of the to go cup so coffee doesn’t spill out.
Dollars. I am a firm believer in being prepared so I always have dollar bills in my car for tolls, plus I do like to pay it forward so I usually pay for the person behind me at the dollar toll.

Music CDs, country. Although there is an Albannach CD so I like superb Celtic music. Audio books. At least two or three and sometimes up to ten in the vehicle.

A book or two. Or more. You could ascertain by these and the audiobooks that I like to read. And if you look close you will see that I like mystery, suspense, and romance. Oh, and in my car you will find copies of my latest novel. So you will know that I am also an author.
A box of Kleenex and a roll of paper towels. Don’t ask…I have no clue why, but the paper towels have definitely come in handy when I’ve spilled so I leave them.

A snow/ice scraper so I guess that means I do not live in the south or in California.

Glasses and sunglasses. Hm…if it were just the sunglasses then it would be all about the sun, but since I have both in the car it means they are prescription glasses and sunglasses.

A can of bug spray. Well, either I’m afraid bugs will get in the car or I tend to take the truck to where I spend time outdoors and don’t want bug bites.

A microfiber cloth. Similar to the paper towels only this one is cuz of the dust that gets in the truck so I use it to wipe the dash.

A pair of running shoes. Filthy dirty. This says I didn’t want to take them inside until they dried out after running the Rugged Maniac obstacle course. Last September.

A box of hand warmers. Another hint that where I live gets cold and probably snow.

A cheap, black windreaker. This pretty much goes along with the safety pins and running shoes. If there is one thing I have learned, it is to always bring a jacket to a race because you just never know what the weather will be.

Burt’s Bees lip balm, the peppermint kind. What do you think? I like kissable lips! What else does this say? I like natural.

A hairbrush. So what do you want, I’m a girl. Besides, sometimes you have to go someplace after a run and you just need to try and make the hair look better even if it’s to make it look better in a ponytail.

Ponytail holders. Along with that hairbrush there are several ponytail holders in various colors of the rainbow. When I run I wear my hair up and usually under a hat. But I love the colorful bands that hold the hair up.

Aside from the obligatory registration and insurance information, what is inside your vehicle?

Monday, January 12, 2015

How to live by life’s little ditties

Here are a few ditties I live my life by. They are in no particular order, except number one.

#1. Life is too short, so live it!
See how simple that is? Let me put it another way. If you’re worrying about “what-ifs” then you’re not living, you’re worrying.

#2. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
See if this explains it better. If you’re going to have sex, ladies, don’t you want hot, sweaty, heart-pounding, orgasmic sex? You know, the kind when you finish you can’t breathe, but are so exhilarated you rollover on top of the guy so you can begin again. Or would you rather have the kind where you don’t reach that ultimate high, but when the other person gets theirs you say “Gee, that was nice.” Nice is not done well. Nice is nice. Hey, if he isn’t getting it right, show him. If you want to write a book, don’t just write a book, write the best dang book you can! Live the best life you can!

#3. Life should be an adventure.
This one seems to trip up a great many people. This means go outside your comfort zone. Think outside the box. Push the envelope. Whatever you do, try something. Do something! Experience something new. I live by this creedo! Once a year I come up with something new to try and do it. It could be taking singing lessons, scuba diving, running a marathon, or as simple as trying a new type of food. This year I will experience a 50-mile trail race!

#4. Bucket lists belong in a pail.
Bucket lists are just that, lists on a piece of paper. You don’t need a list to know what you want. Just wake up one day and say, “Today I’m going to bungee jump.” Then go do it. You have to make it happen and writing it down on a little piece of paper and squirreling it away is not going to make it happen. You have to take the bull by the horns or in this case the bungee by the cord and go for it! So if running a marathon is on this proverbial bucket list…take it off and just do it. Who cares if you walk the entire race. You can say you did it as opposed to, “It’s on my bucket list.” Basically, if you take it off the bucket list then you are adhering to Life ditty #3.

#5. Body and mind need restoration.
I never used to believe in this, but have learned the hard way. You see, it used to be that every time my husband and I took a vacation one or both of us would come back to not having a job. So we stopped taking vacations. We thought we were jinxed. However, without following this motto you never give yourself the time to recuperate from the forty-hour work week or if you are a homemaker, even longer hours. You need the time to get away to relax and rejuvenate. Now, it does not mean you need to fly off to Never Never Land or my favorite place (Ireland), but you have to do something so you are not amidst your everyday as this will only suck you back in. A couple of suggestions: Go camping with no cell phone and oh, yeah, no laundry or bills to pay. I once spent a week in the middle of nowhere, Georgia with no phone, no TV, and it was snowing. Best time of my life! Spend a day and go to every movie in the movie theatre. What a great escape! For a short, daily escape, take up running, walking, knitting, and oh, yes...reading. Give yourself time away from the daily grind.

#6. Life does not revolve around work.
This is probably one of the hardest ones for all of us to get past. We, as a society, work too many hours and in my opinion for too little. Yes, it pays the bills (sometimes). But honestly, is that what you were put on this earth for, to pay bills and make money for someone else? That is a resounding NO! Most, if not all of us, at one time or another, have been workaholics. To my great chagrin, I will admit to being one of them. I was actually one in my early twenties. Which, is perhaps, why I learned at a very young age that life was too precious and oh, yeah, meant to be lived (see Life ditty #1) so early on. Life should revolve around family and friends. They are your backbone, your source of inspiration, your rocks. Life is too precious to put a job above all else. And should you be so short-sighted to do so you will miss so much. Do you want to miss celebrating your tenth anniversary because of a board meeting? Or miss your daughter’s soccer playoff because you had to fix a bug or a delivery problem that could have waited another twelve hours? Of course you don’t. And neither does that family member or friend. Don’t let work get in the way of life passing you by. And if you have children, don’t show them the path of least resistance and that an unhappy life is normal. Show them that what life has to offer is what surrounds them, not the paycheck that pays the bills (sometimes). Play hookie!

#7. Live YOUR life and not someone else’s.
Every day, in every walk of life, you will see something or someone you admire and think, “I want what he or she has.” Really? How do you know they are happy? How do you know that they don’t go home alone or depressed or dread the next day? Life isn’t always greener on the other side. At least that’s what my mama always said. You don’t want someone else’s life you want yours. But to do that, you have to know what you want and go after it. Take it! Sitting on the sidelines and wishing you were someone else, had what someone else has, is not living your life. It’s not, in my opinion, even living. It’s wishing. And while I love wishing on a star, I also chase that star to the ends of the earth.

#8. Never regret ANYTHING.
Some people, maybe a great many will be shocked and horrified by this ditty. People believe mistakes are a sin or should be prevented in any way. Me, I have a different belief. Rather than regret any action, learn from it. Seriously! Once, my ex-husband and I moved to New Jersey. It didn’t last long. It was not a great experience. Thom’s mother said something about regretting it, and I said, “Why should I regret it? I learned I don’t like to live in New Jersey, and I learned what I do like.” See, silver lining. If you live your life by learning and not regretting, you grow and experience more. Regret is like a ball and chain. The more you regret, the more regret weighs you down in fear. You begin fearing making mistakes. Fear of mistakes will prevent you from living life. (see ditty #1) Do not fear mistakes. Embrace them! Grow! Live!

What little ditties, mottos, or creedos do you live by?

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