Unapologetically me

I’ve been told by a few women in separate circles of my life, jokingly and seriously, that they can’t help but feel envious when reading my Facebook posts.

I am going to unapologetically be me. If my sharing how we live actively and love proactively brings negative feelings, then please take a moment to see how you can make some changes in your own Life to be in a place of joy and peace.

It’s not easy. Being in a place like this takes work, hard work. I’ve paid my dues with years of loneliness, depression, struggles with self worth, and oh so many tears. There’s that saying that the grass is always greener on the other side, but who needs grass when there are so many other beautiful choices for landscaping?

Get out of you’re supposed to box. Boxes are square and the corners will inevitably get stuck. This song here is mine and Marley‘s current favorite song to sing off key to while we’re lapping the neighborhood, a neighborhood filled with friendly neighbors, green grass, and beautiful vibrant colorful desert landscaping.

This is me from the greatest showman soundtrack.

Here you go. I’ve pasted the video for your listening pleasure below the lyrics.

I am not a stranger to the darkHide away, they say
‘Cause we don’t want your broken parts
I’ve learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one’ll love you as you areBut I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are gloriousWhen the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is meOh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, ohAnother round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away ’cause today, I won’t let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that’s what we’ve become (yeah, that’s what we’ve become)I won’t let them break me down to dust
I know that there’s a place for us
For we are gloriousWhen the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me
Look out ’cause here I come
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is meOh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh
This is meAnd I know that I deserve your love
(Oh-oh-oh-oh) There’s nothing I’m not worthy of
(Oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh-oh-oh, oh, oh)
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
This is brave, this is bruised
This is who I’m meant to be, this is meLook out ’cause here I come (look out ’cause here I come)
And I’m marching on to the beat I drum (marching on, marching, marching on)
I’m not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is meWhen the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown ’em out
I’m gonna send a flood
Gonna drown ’em out
Oh
This is me

Celebrate Nevada Reading Week in Braille with the NFB of Nevada

I don’t own a Cat in the Hat hat amongst my many number of hats. I do own a national Federation of the blind of Nevada hat where I serve as affiliate president.

This week, the national Federation of the blind of Nevada is celebrating Nevada reading week with videos of our members reading braille.

Here’s the first video and my favorite Dr. Seuss book, “Oh the Things You Can Think.”

Why not ask why not?

Some people ask, “Why?” while others ask, “Why not?” Why not choose why not?
In my experience, I tend to have more fun and find out what I’m made of when choosing why not.

Why not go after the dream of running a marathon? It’s only 26.2 miles.
Why not run the St. George Marathon less than 12 months after the Las Vegas Rock and Roll Marathon?
Why not run the Jackpot ultra? A 50 K is only 31.07 miles, just a few miles more than a marathon.
Why not sign up for the Nanny Goat 24 hour race? I already completed 32.5 miles in 12 hours. What’s another 12 hours?
So what if Nanny Goat is postponed, why not put on our own 24 hour run and call it the Monkey Goat?
The Beyond Limits Running Jackpot Ultra Festival where I ran my first 50 K is adding a 72 hour option. Why not sign up and see if I can run 100 miles?
Jackpot’s postponed thanks to the pandemic, well why not plan another self supported run? If I could complete 54 miles in 24 hours, then why not shoot for 100 miles in 48 hours. We’ll call this one the Crackpot 100.

That’s how I ended up running loop after loop in my neighborhood on February 12 and 13. My neighbors thought I was crazy. My family and non-runner friends thought I was crazy. My running tribe, they inspired me to keep moving. Two other girls were doing there own 100 miler on the opposite end of town. As moms of kids in school during distance-learning, we Are creative with finding ways to support our family while still supporting our own goals. Other runners showed up for laps to keep me company, wouldn’t let me stop even during 40 mile winds and a hail storm. Lastly, my husband took the kids camping , thus gifting 36 hours of uninterrupted time to just focus on my goals, showed up in time to finish the last 10 miles with me.

When Aaron took the tether, he asked me what things went threw my head while running. During long runs, I find my mind able to let go of the to do’s and enjoy just being in the moment, the needed moments of reflection and release one needs in the space of self care. I didn’t have any moments like that though on Friday and Saturday because of the great company that kept me entertained. It wasn’t until the next morning when the reality of the monumental task I had just completed and the overwhelming feeling of pride and accomplishment took over in waves of tears that wouldn’t stop flowing.

I really did it. I set a goal to run 100 miles in 48 hours. I headed out alone on the very first lap before any guides even arrived because I was itching to get going. Friends came and went throughout the duration of the miles. We called it for the night at 50 miles just before midnight on day 1. Because of the rest allowed my body, I started Saturday morning feeling strong and ready to finish the second half of the hundred. Just as we were about to turn the corner onto our street to start the last lap, my husband said he needed to pee. OH no, there was no stopping. TMI warning, my body said there would be absolutely no stopping by letting it all flow. Apparently I needed to pee too. By that time we’d been walking for hours because of the nausea and aches and pains. Not realizing that he really did run in the house to use the bathroom, the muscle memory of the last two days of lapping the 1.1 mile Capital B shaped loop in our hood moved my feet one painful zombie step after the next. Cold, wet, and hurting all over, I slipped into the hot epsom salt bath waiting for me just over 40 hours after the very first lap.

All the feels, so many feels, the gratitude, the joy, the sense of accomplishment, they overflowed from my exhausted body, and I just couldn’t help but feel strong, powerful, and unstoppable.

So now what?

Why not run/ walk/ ride the distance from San Fransisco to Boston, invite all of you to do it with me virtually and raise funds for Braille literacy?

Why not call our Braille Across America team the Unstoppables?

National Federation of the Blind President, Mark Riccobono said in his 2018 banquet address, ‘it is our diversity that gives us depth. It is our long standing commitment to work together that gives us strength. It is our synergy that makes us unstoppable.”

Why not take my love of reading, combine it with my love of running, and support national braille press through my love of writing to get more braille books into the hands of blind children?
It wasn’t until I learned Braille in my early 20’s, after loosing the ability to read print that I felt literate again. I was that kid who always had my nose in a book, but I literally had my nose in the book with high powered magnifiers with bright lights attached. The more eyesight I lost, the harder I had to work to keep up in school, and the more neck and back pain I suffered from leaning in to try to see. Meeting successful blind adults with careers and families, getting around confidently with long white canes, using accessible technology, and reading Braille kicked me out of my fake it to make it funk. Why not press pause on school to learn skills that would turn me into a confident blind adult? Why not go to the most intensive training center often referred to as the bootcamp for the blind? During my time at the Louisiana Center for the Blind, I not only gained the positive philosophy and confidence through nine intensive months of training, I gained back the love of literacy when I learned Braille. Now as a blind mom to a blind fifth grader and third grader, I couldn’t imagine being able to raise smart, strong, creative, resourceful, resilient, confident kids without the solid foundation of Braille and blindness skills to build on.

Only 10% of blind/ low vision kids are taught Braille.
70% of blind adults are unemployed.
90% of those employed blind adults are Braille readers.

Why not raise these low literacy rates by running/ walking/ riding and raise funds to get more Braille books into the hands of blind children.
Why not Braille Across America!

Learn more about how to sign up or make a donation here. https://www.classy.org/campaign/braille-across-america-2021/c320409

No More Merely Surviving. Thriving Starts Now! Who’s with me?

“My mission in life is not to merely survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

I used this Maya Angelo quote in the banquet address I gave at the National Federation of the Blind of Texas State Convention last Saturday. Like everything else these days, the event was virtual. I thought I struggled with my speech because it was over zoom, and I was speaking to the computer screen from the corner of my bedroom.  I’ve been kicking myself since then, saying things like, “That was awful.” “I was all over the place.” This morning, while crying in the shower, it hit me that I’m merely surviving. I’m not thriving.

I’m merely going through the motions of the day to day. I’ve stopped taking care of myself, so that I could put it all into taking care of others. 

I’ve lost my passion.

I’ve lost my self compassion.

Humor is so lost that I’m finding my face sore from frowning, clenching my jaw, and grinding my teeth at night.

Lastly, my daily style is things I could wear to sleep.  My physical health is a direct reflection of my mental health, and they are both struggling. 

This is me saying ENOUGH!

I will live my mission in life.

I will thrive;

with passion,

with compassion,

with humor,

and with style.

It starts today.  That cry in the shower was more than me releasing some tears. That cry in the shower allowed me to reflect on what needs to happen in order to get back to my mission in life. Step 2, write this blog. Step 3. send out an SOS to the running community for a good long run. In the mean time, a long bike ride on the tandem with my husband should help.

Friends, let’s not allow ourselves to merely survive. Let’s live our missions in life with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.  Let’s thrive!

Kick Off National Meet the Blind Month with the Courtesy Rules of Blindness

Throughout October, as many people are pulling out their Halloween and fall decour, my friends and colleagues know that blindness is nothing to fear. We in the national Federation of the blind are celebrating national meet the blind month. Kick the month off with us with the courtesy rules of blindness!

 

https://www.nfb.org/programs-services/meet-blind-month/courtesy-rules-blindness

Bitter Sweet Last Day of School

Today was the official last day of school.

It was bittersweet, anti-climactic, sad, and empty.

I’m going to keep my comments and disdain for Clark County to myself about the district’s half assed mockery to educate our children.

I just want to say thank you to all of the teachers who tried their hardest during these crazy times.

You and the kids didn’t get a chance to celebrate.

We needed something to signify this day, so here is a , “Hooray,” “No school,” “Summer’s here,” Photo of the kids and I with the banner they made for our neighbor across the street who should have had his kindergarten graduation celebration.

So we celebrated with cupcakes and a water balloon fight instead.

A Hello Message to Red Rover Coaches and Kids

Since the fall of 2018, i’ve had the joy of being a part of our afterschool running program. Red Rover teaches the kids to sweat and smile while playing games and learning good form and technique about running.

The kids get to learn that even though I can’t see the way they see, I’m still able to be out there having an awesome time in the middle of all of it.

I still can’t throw a frisbee to save my life, but I am down to do jump squats, lunges, Burpee‘s, and play freeze tag with the rest of them. Let’s not forget about our favorite game, “ Larry, Mo, and curly.“

While other parents are sitting cozy in their cars watching us run around on the field, I’m grateful to be out there making memories to last a lifetime.

I miss my Red Rover kids and our afterschool shenanigans. Here’s a message from Marley, Jackson, and I to the coaches and kids of red rover.

Girls, Let’s Take Our Pants Off!

I’m talking to you ladies.

We’ve spent way too many days in our yoga pants, leggings, pajamas, and sweats.

Take your pants off!

I’m inviting you to join me in this no pants day.

Replace those cozy pants you have been seeking comfort in and throw them in the laundry bin.

Today, we wear something that makes us feel feminine.

Today, we wear something that makes us feel free.

Today, we wear something that makes us feel fabulous !

Today, we wear something fun!

Share what you’re wearing on #NoPantsDay.

 

Photo of me and my girl holding hands and leaning back. She's wearing a fun striped dress and laughing with her hair flowing free. I'm in a black running skirt, salmon tank top that says, "Life is good, Half full." The U in "Half Full is and image of a half full wine glass. My pony tail swings from a baseball cap with, "Dare" on the front.

Creating a New Normal

Today marked the first day of week 2 as we work on creating a new normal in our home.  The kids are asleep, I’ve just finished my second glass of wine, and all I have to say is, “I’m tired.”

As your family works on creating a new normal, it’s completely ok to grieve the old normal.  It’s ok to cry.  We’ve all cried.

My girl cried when she realized the school play might not happen.  They’ve put so much work into it.  It broke my heart, and all I could do was hold her tight and let her cry out her fears.

My boy cried because he misses school.  My exceptional second grader who’s reading at a fifth grade level, who loves structure and organization cried because he wants things back the way they were.  I do too my love.

My husband, who works the front lines as a firefighter/medic cried for the hard times our city will see.  He’s sees the real, the raw, and the unfiltered things the rest of us are sheltered from.

I cry when the fear creeps in at night that my husband might run a critical call on a covet-19 patient.

Here is what I tell my kids.

It’s ok to feel sad, scared, angry, or confused. Whatever you’re feeling, you get to give it permission to come out. Once you let it out, say hello, and let it go.  Find someone you love to hold onto and work through your fears and tears with. Curl up and get cozy, love those fears and tears away with the new normal you get to create together.

Our new normal is made up of lots of sunshine, laughter, and late night cuddles on the couch.

What does your new normal look like?

photo of my boy and I cuddling on the couch under a red blanket