Can’t Touch This..Or That…Or Anything

Shelter in place…words we didn’t think we’d really ever hear. However, this is our life at this very moment. We are stuck in limbo between not being able to touch things or people. Our personal and professional lives are turned upside down. What was once our “normal” has become a twilight zone altogether.

Children are home from school. Parents are working from home if they are able. Many are laid off or let go completely. Businesses are shut down or working in limited operations. Many, unfortunately are sick or are continuing to get sick.

In-person communication is now virtual. Many have taken to the internet to remain connected, to remain focused and even to remain healthy. Many are changing how they exercise thru online videos and Facebook live. Business meetings are conducted through zoom (how many are secretly in their pajamas and loving it!). Outdoor exercise is encouraged however unfortunately many are taking advantage and not distancing themselves appropriately or acting like it’s one big picnic with tailgate parties, pick-up games and playdates. Come ‘on people really? I mean positivity is the key to happiness, but it needs to be responsible!

This to shall pass. This is what I remind myself of every time I face a challenge. I especially remind myself of this everyday now so that I am not stuck in the negativity of the situation. I do not take it lightly, it is a very serious matter all over the world. I live and breathe positivity and I will not stop now.

Find your joy!

Working from home is stressful and inconvenient, for most people. I work remotely. I am thankful that I am able to do so. Try to find the positivity in the change in environment. If you are able to still work and receive a paycheck, that is more than enough reason to be positive! Most are not able, therefore be thankful and just keep moving!

In my previous blog, I talked about self-care and how we don’t take time to sit back and relax and the tasks that we often don’t get to. We are often so stressed out in our everyday lives, that now, there is even more stress placed on us. It is not what is placed on us, it is how we react to it. Positivity is the key to happiness and moving forward through this and past it. So how do we do that?

Encourage and teach. We encourage the kids and teach them how to handle change and stress. Teach them about our careers and how we are able to adapt in changing times and how they can handle these types of situations in their futures. Teach them how to keep moving forward despite challenges.

Relax and breathe. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed take a step back, take some deep breaths, find your center. What calms you? Yoga, a walk, stretching, a workout, perhaps a run? How about some meditation. Besides a run, it’s music for me. Music both soothes me and makes my soul happy. Of course, looking at beautiful photos of amazing destinations does the trick too! We may not be able to travel at the moment, but there is nothing wrong with dreaming and planning.

I believe that everything I do, personally and professionally comes from the heart. This truly comes from my heart ~ find your joy, find your why, find your purpose and hold onto your strength. Stay strong, stay connected (responsibly of course) and keep dreaming! I have taken this blog to an online Facebook Group to open discussions of what keeps you moving, what keeps you motivated, so that you can be inspired and inspire others. Join the group and let’s keep the connection and conversation going!https://www.facebook.com/groups/894189944328264/about/

Remember, just keep moving! This has certainly been one heck of journey. Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!

Carol

There is Strength in Numbers

You’ve heard the old quote…”There is strength in numbers”. Well, there is also a heck of a lot of fun in numbers, especially when you travel with like-minded and fun-seeking friends and family members. Unless you are planning a honeymoon, anniversary trip, or simply a romantic getaway for two, you might want to consider asking a few friends or family members to join you on your next vacation. Here are several reasons why it can really enhance your experience:

1. When a work-related group or profession, such as emergency services gets away from everyday stresses most people can’t even imagine, they get the chance to blow off some steam and make fantastic memories together. That can lead to happiness in the workplace, and even improve the long-term employee/volunteer retention numbers. I will say that the fire/ems/police profession I have the pleasure of knowing and accompanying on cruises over the last 10+ years, are some of the most thoughtful, kind and generous people I have ever met…and it shows in the spirit of their dedication to saving lives. The epitome of what it means to just keep moving.



2. Extended families often live miles apart and the average family with children usually has such an incredibly busy schedule that is often impossible to enjoy each other. It is becoming more and more common for a member of the family – usually a grandparent – to spearhead (and sometimes pay for) a multi-generational family group to get away together. I am currently working with a family group who is planning a custom tour of Ireland this summer to trace their heritage – funded by Grandma. She would rather enjoy the vacation and experience of having all of her children together now than leave them the money later. Cruising is also a very popular extended-family getaway because there are so many onboard activities that appeal to all different age groups. It’s a very relaxed and fun atmosphere that allows all ages to have fun and spend time with each other.

3. It’s also becoming more popular for groups of friends to get away together. Especially friends who have kids with the same ages! How much fun would it be to have the kids all playing together at the beach or pool while the adults enjoy a cocktail and a little adult R & R. If there are older kids involved, they can even take turns watching the younger ones while the grownups go out for a rare childless dinner. There are built-in playmates for both the youngsters and the adults alike! When I have a family book a spring break getaway or summer vacation, I usually ask them “are there any friends or family members that you think might enjoy joining you on this trip? Most of the time, they end of sharing the info and thanking me for thinking of the idea…Hey…that’s what I do!

4. Special interest groups – such as music, or perhaps sports. Many having the same interests get away together, get to know each other better. How much fun would it be to have everyone together – well let me show you this video of several groups that got together on one cruise to Bermuda – a group of ems/fire/police, a group of outdoor adventurists/runners and a group of musicians and friends – for one amazing time! 

https://www.facebook.com/Barefootbobbyandthebreakers/videos/308258753111971/

Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas group cruise to Bermuda 2018

As a runner, traveling for a race weekend has been a very exciting experience the last 7+ years. Whether you like to run with your friends, or enjoy the solitude of running alone, you are never truly alone. The cheers of the hometown crowd supporting strangers, your friends lurking in the crowds with signs, goodies and hugs. That moment when you are almost finished that milestone race and hear the screams of support from your daughter, her husband and granddaughter not even knowing they traveled three hours to see you run (yes, I certainly bawled my eyes out during the 2018 Marine Corps Marathon at approx. mile 23 when they surprised me!). It gives you a boost of energy that carries you to just keep going, to keep moving forward. That exciting moment when friends you’ve known for over 30 years, travel with you to have a fun weekend away, and watch you finish a race celebrating 7 years of being healthy, and one of them jumps in to run the last sprint of the race to the finish line ~ that is the true spirit of strength in numbers!

My friend Sandy jumped in for the finish!

So, have I inspired YOU to get a small group together for your next adventure? It could end up being your favorite vacation EVER! Why not get away with some friends and family and make some amazing memories at the same time?? While you are spending the day today with family and/or friends, why not plan your next adventure together? It’s a true “Win-Win” for everyone! If someone you know is having a tough time, it just may be what they need ….to just keep going.

Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!
Carol

80 % of Success Is Showing Up

Trail Running

I don’t even know where to begin! What’s more fun then taking on a new challenge or adventure?!

I will begin with an expression of gratitude for the opportunity to take on a new challenge being healthier through diet and exercise.

Then there’s always the challenge of my health and the risk of flare ups if I’m not mindful of the challenges I take on. Always, be mindful of how you feel and be smart and know when to stop. It is not weakness, it is necessity.

In the past few years I began trail running and find it extremely peaceful. But, don’t let that fool you, you have to be on your game watching your footing while absorbing the beauty that surrounds you.

One of my goals for 2018, in addition to enjoying running more trails, was to run a trail race. I decided go big or go home apparently! I understood taking on this goal it would be a challenging course – that was an understatement for me!

I didn’t take pictures while on the course because I wanted to enjoy the beauty that surrounded me. The terrain, between the mud and hills, was very challenging. Most of the elevation was extremely difficult, for me , but would not be for more experienced trail and ultra runners.

Uberendurance Sports hosts a 20 & 40 mile trail race called the Naked Bavarian at Blue Marsh Lake in Leesport, PA. They are a well run race organization keeping costs low while providing challenging, yet fun races, little swag complimented by great volunteers and food.

By the end of the race, I truly exceeded my own personal physical limits, but the high of completing my challenge, while being mindful of my health, was exhilarating!

I finished!

Fast forward to 2019, I decided I needed to do it again! Why you ask? Because I can! As long as I can keep moving forward, I will keep going. This year proved to be the biggest challenge yet, as it had snowed prior to race day. I wasn’t sure what to expect, I certainly wasn’t going to try to beat my time from the previous year. Snow, mud…and ice! Whoa, what did I get myself into? I did great just moving forward at my own pace (and had not yet fallen thankfully but I did slip a lot!). Stopped at the aid station at mile 10 (the volunteers are amazing!) and was met with – be careful, it’s really messy up there. Did I not mention after the mile 10 aid station, there is quite the climb and descent. Oh, and I’m afraid of heights! Climbing in 2018 was a feat in itself for me, but now to do it in snow, mud and ice. Ugh, do I drop out now?? Nope, just keep moving. Safely of course.

I think my face says it all!

So, off I go, but after I hear from another runner, “hold up, I’ll head out with you”. Thank goodness because at this point I had been running completely alone. I still kept my pace, as did he, but I felt much better knowing there was someone else out there in case I had any issues, like falling off the side of the mountain (well it was a mountain to me, a “hill” to most ultra runners). And although it was not easy by any means and I did slip backwards a few times, I finally decided to take in the view at the top (last year I did not…did I mention FEAR of heights? Wow, what a view! (Nope, I did not get close to the edge)

View from the top of the “hill” after climbing

Trudging along just moving forward and hoping to finish. I was exhausted from the efforts it took to stay on my feet, especially the descent down the other side of the “hill”. After awhile I, along with the other runner close by, decided to walk a bit. Our conversation got personal about tragedies, challenges and struggles. Depression, drugs, ptsd, you name it, the conversation flowed and the time passed. Next thing you know, we were nearing the end. Phew! The kind gentleman I shared the last 10 miles with proved to me, once again, that there are many people out there with similar, or more, struggles than I. He’s an ultra runner who’s goal was to finish today. He ever so kindly dropped back behind me to let me finish the race ahead of him, even after I insisted we finish together. We did finish together, and I am forever grateful for sharing the miles.

“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.”

John Muir

What are some of your challenges for yourself?


Life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful!
Carol

Why not make a difference?

The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others

Bonds

For 10 years, I volunteered and sponsored an annual fundraiser event for childhood cancer research on behalf of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. I found the St. Baldrick’s Foundation through a volunteer site and wanted something I could do together with my daughter (against her will at first!) that involved children. I’m so very proud of my daughter, although she was not interested at first, it was an opportunity for her to learn about some of the struggles that children face, and how we could make even a small difference, and year after year, she was by my side helping. I can’t even begin to describe what this experience has done for me. I met some of the most amazing people that became lifelong friends, just simply sharing my time. Although during this time I was very sick, I just kept going. I pushed through tasks that come easy to others, but were difficult for me. I needed to keeping moving forward, to help others who couldn’t help themselves, who had more difficult challenges to face then I did. The friendships that were created through the years will be bonded forever. Check out this link to see how you can be involved and make a difference for a child. https://www.stbaldricks.org

Rialee, Child Honoree

Giving Back

Giving of my time as a runner assisting at water stations, cheering and/or handing medals to finishers is very rewarding, especially seeing the smiling faces of those crossing the finish line for the first time, whether it is their first race, returning after an injury or illness, or maybe running their best race. The look of these brave and inspiring runners is the epitome of not giving up, the desire to just keep moving and just do and be the best they can. As a business owner, and runner, giving of my time attending and/or sponsoring local events allows me to give back to my communities. This year I had the opportunity to sponsor several local race events, as well as volunteer with a team fundraising for fallen heroes, which provides holiday gifts to children of soldiers who have passed in the war, or suffered from PTSD. A kind word, a hug, an acknowledgment and understanding means more than you know to someone. Be kind, always, you never know what someone is going through.

Volunteering at the finish line of the Philadelphia Marathon

How about you? Do you volunteer locally, throughout the US or Internationally? Did you know that you can find out if a destination you are traveling to is sponsoring a local school or event? Some resort destinations, through the assistance of volunteers, provide school supplies to help a local school. When we travel, we can indeed help others and help to keep them moving forward.

Support while traveling

There are many reasons to volunteer while you’re traveling and there are literally thousands of charities and organizations that look for help from passing travelers. For example, the Maui Humane Society has the “Helping Paws” program where visitors can come spend time with the animals. Some, who are staying on Maui for a longer time, can actually “temporarily adopt” a dog or cat for their whole stay. Most end up taking them home with them at the end. Churches also offer mission trips and encourage members to participate as a group, usually in some specific area such as building a school.

We may not have a lot of time to give, but maybe if we each look for some small opportunity, we can all make a difference. The next time you take a vacation, consider asking what you can do to help. We are happy to assist you in learning about these opportunities as you plan your vacations. Have you ever participated in a program that you would like to share? Let us know and we will put it “out there” for all to see! 

Let’s make a difference together and help others to just keep moving! 
Carol