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Courage

Want Change? Be The Change.

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I think about our friend Ruth Samuelson of Charlotte, North Carolina daily. Ruth left us in January after an 8 month battle with Ovarian cancer. She was only 56. Ouch.

Ruth was a living example of “being the change” and how it can positively impact ones family, community and politics.  Ruth’s impact on earth is remarkable. #PoliPower.

She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mom, grandmother, community leader and public servant. She also was a FiA we nicknamed “Poli” for her love of politics.

Ruth was funny, fit and athletic. She loved to work out outside at 5:15am with her daughter Joy (FiA Santiago) and FiAs from our female fitness group, Females in Action. Then, last spring she suddenly got diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. By May word was out…the cancer had spread. A complete shocker to everyone who knew and loved her.

Though now gone, I feel she will always be with us in the many lessons she taught, and the good, gutsy and crazy things she did we will always remember and laugh about.

A few years ago, Ruth and I were having lunch together while discussing life, careers, family, community and of course, politics. I was at a cross roads trying to figure out where next to best focus my maverick leader type A energy.  Should I stay focused on community fitness efforts or launch a new female start-up to stop the division in our politics?

When I asked Ruth for some guidance on this, she gazed at me for a thoughtful moment.  You know that gaze if you knew Ruth. Then with her pirate eyes and beautiful smile, she said:

From my experience, you can’t make others change. You have to be the change.

I will always remember this decisive moment with Ruth. She was so calm. So matter of fact. She was also right. Force change? She sure loved ruffling us up by being the change.

As Ruth said… if you want to change others...change yourself first. 

In honor of Ruth and igniting that #PoliPower, here are 3 ideas to get cha-cha-changing.

  1. Re-organize your busy life: The days and years fly by really fast friends. Prioritize and pursue what matters most to you. You will avoid living with regret.
  2. Be the calm: We are our brothers and sisters keepers right? I’ve learned life’s greatest obstacles can reveal God’s purpose for you in this area. So start today to turn your pain, anger or sadness into a mission for good. Be the inspiration, humor or kindness you need. Be the calm in someone’s storm. Be the friend in someone’s loneliness. Be the mentor in confusion. Be the light in the darkness.
  3. Pray it up: Ruth prayed a lot everyday and is probably still praying for us in Heaven. Let God worry about your worries. He is vast. We are small.

Thank you Ruth.  We miss you.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXXO

What is Within You? Find out.

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So many people, experiences and events came together to inspire this post.

It may even be you reading this!

Without going into great detail, I had to sum it all up to 2 thought provoking quotes.

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Jesus Christ

“For David….served his Purpose of God in his own generation.”  Acts: 13:36

What is in me? In You?

Will we bring it forth in our generation?

If we don’t, will it hurt us?

Loaded questions but worth exploring, especially now.

It’s seems a lot of people I have talked to are at a point in their lives where change has happened suddenly, is happening currently, or has to happen to move them forward.

Change rattles the norm. It shakes up our world. It also presents an exciting opportunity to reflect on the direction of your life and do something different or more meaningful.

So what is in you?

Will you bring it forth in your generation?

This is not to say you need to do more than you already do…just something else.

Perhaps God wants you and I to redirect our lives. To live with more purpose everyday.

To start to align our life on earth for the next chapter.

Maybe it’s time to jump over the lines in the sand you set for yourself.

You see, I believe God’s got glorious plans for you on the other side.

Yep.

To be his experience on earth.

To bring out that little light that is deep inside you.

So that you can use it for good, on earth, in your lifetime.

Just imagine.

He needs your help to inspire change.

And, look after his people on earth.

You ARE here for a reason.

Your passion and wisdom of experience is a torch we need to light the path forward. If you blow out the flame and walk away, we stay in the dark. If you find a match, light the torch and share it, we can see again.

So, get it? We need you. What match will light your torch?

Tell me what you want, what you really really want.

What do you sing about? What makes you HAPPY?

What do you cry about? What makes you SAD?

What do you dream about doing or becoming? What is your VISION for your FUTURE?

Take the time to answer these questions.

They are the keys to your next chapter.

Pursue what you sing about. Bring forth more of what brings you joy. You will bring happiness to you and the world around you.

Turn your pain into purpose. Your experience grieving and lessons learned along the way will help heal others on their life journey. If you do not bring forth the realness of what you know, others stay lonely and in the dark and so may you. Ouch. Bring on the light.

Go after the dream that been tugging at you for years now. God’s waiting for you to bring it forth. Write the book, start that blog, start that new biz, start a tribe, book that bucket list trip, sign up for that race, run for office, go on that mission, make that call.

Why wait anymore?

You have a positive impact to make. Let it shine in your generation.

In closing, I leave you with this quote by Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms company and the One to One business model:

“I believe each of us has a mission in life, and that one cannot truly be living their most fulfilled life until they recognize this mission and dedicate their life to pursuing it.”

Fin. Amy

PS. Let me know if you need some help on this. You may also enjoy reading the short book How to Find Your Mission in Life, by Richard Nelson Bowels who also wrote the life changing book, What Color is My Parachute.

Begin the day with Gratitude in 2017

A new year. Hello 2017!

The possibilities of each day are within this year for each of us.

Aren’t you excited? I am.

I have decided to let go of the long list of resolutions and keep it simple for 2017.

I am setting 3 goals and committing to them.

Here they are.

#1 Begin each day with gratitudes and a positive lead.

#2. Finish 1st round of my book by Dec. 1.

#3. Focus on achieving my best health ever.

Today I will focus this post on #1: Gratitude.

I am going to start the day with more gratitude and lead with the positive. Having been doing this off and on for years, I have witnessed instant benefits in my attitude, happiness and impact on others.

So how do we turn the ordinary dawn of a new day into the extraordinary?

Use awe as a catalyst. What gives you awe?

Our church minster, Joe Clifford at Myers Park Presbyterian in Charlotte, NC  spoke about this concept in a sermon where he recited a beautiful poem I had never heard before.”I thank you God for this amazing” by EE Cummings.

Here it is along with two verses and one very powerful video that was done over  Christmas. That should help put us in a positive mindset for 2017.

“i thank You God for most this amazing” by E.E. Cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

 

Isaiah 40:28-31 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak….31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

 

The creative director at Forest Hill Church did this funny video over Christmas.  20 million have already viewed this video. Have you? Click here: Funny video on Gratitude

Want to join me on this road to glory in 2017?

For the next 21 days start your day with gratitude.

First, say this before you get outta bed every single morning.

Psalm 118:24 “This IS the day the Lord has made, Rejoice and be glad in it!”

I bet it will light a tiny spark of mojo to get you going.

Keep a journal by your bed. In the quiet of the early am write down what or who you are thankful for that day.

Then do a “power lead” into the day by keeping your first comments, texts, posts or emails to your family then friends, neighbors or co-workers positive.  Be intentional on this. You may have to bite your tongue! It’s worth it.

Are you in? Let me know how it goes for you.

Cheers to 2017.

Let’s make it AWEsome and spread some cheer.

 

 

 

 

 

How a Friend & Music Got Me Running

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” -Albert Schweitzer

One of my my goals this year is to start thanking the people in my life who lit a spark in me and others.

Today I want to thank my friend Bo, who got me started running.

I was in junior high-school when I first “ran” just to run. In the past the only time I had to run was in soccer.

Just “going for a run” was definitely not on my “to do” list. Never felt the pull.

Yet, I began running because of Bo, my childhood friend and neighbor.

One day as we were chatting after school, he invited me to join him running that weekend. How nice, right?  He must have realized I needed or wanted to lose weight.

That Saturday we met for our first run. It was Bo, his black Sony Walkman, and me.  In his Walkman was a mixed tape of his favorite Led Zeppelin music. We said hello to each-other, then he put the earphones in his ears and off we went.

Uphill. 

Can we stop, I said?

I was out of shape and not a “runner.” I began huffing and puffing. Bo must have sensed my misery! About 5 minutes into our run, he stopped running.

He looked concerned (or maybe just annoyed) then smiled at me.

He took off his earphones and handed them to me along with his Walkman.

“Amy, you gotta listen to music…it will make your run better!”

I took him up on the offer and put the earphones in.

I had heard “Stairway to Heaven” at many school dances (the parents and teachers loved to waltz around slowly to that song), but really never listened to any other Led Zeppelin music.

I figured any music would work to ease the pain of the run! The first song on his playlist was “Black Dog.”

“Hey, hey, mama, said the way you move / Gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove…”

I started running and it did seem easier.

I survived that day thanks to Bo and Led Zeppelin.

And I am still running today!

Now, every single time I hear a Led Zeppelin song…I feel like I just gotta run!

Crazy.

So, thank you!

You never know what a little kindness can do!

Who knew I would learn to LOVE running?

Who knew I got back to running because of the iPod?

Who knew I would run so many races in so many places?

Who knew I would then go on to teach people how to run and earn money doing it?

And who knew I would own a dog named Finnegan who also loves to run?

The greatest of gratitude to Bo.

Thanks for the spark!

Fin. Amy

Pursue Your Passions: It May Lead to Your Mission.

“I believe each of us has a mission in life, and that one cannot truly be living their most fulfilled life until they recognize this mission and dedicate their life to pursuing it.” -Blake Mycoskie, founder of Toms company and the One to One business model.

I love this quote.  Life is so short and precious. 

What is important to you? What do you want to accomplish? What drives you?  What do you love doing but are not doing?

Find out what it is and pursue it.  

Think about Tom’s founder, or Mother Theresa, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Lincoln, Einstein, Martin Luther King!  Think of all the inventors, leaders, parents, teachers, athletes, career changers, missionaries and others who found out what they wanted to do, went after it and changed their lives…and our lives. Imagine where we all would be if they had ignored that passionate spirit inside?

So what are you passionate about? What do you want to change in your life? Your career?

Don’t know?

Start small.

First, find out what you need just to thrive.

Years ago in my early twenties I was at a cross roads. My dad had died, I was questioning my career choice (and college major), and knew a better career or job was waiting for me.  I just needed directions on how to get to it.

I turned to the book “What Color is Your Parachute?” by Richard M. Bolles. This is the same book my Dad turned to when he made a career change when he was 40 years old. 

I read it thoroughly and put great effort into each lesson.  It was hard work.  No career counselor could do it for me.  I had to dig deep inside to identify what made me thrive, excited and happiest when and where I was working.

I filled two yellow legal pads with my notes.  

The author encouraged me, the reader, to narrow down the discernment into one short,  vision sentence. By the book’s end, I could do this because I re-discovered what drove me, my passions, and my dream for an ideal career…the one sentence became my mission. 

  • Freedom to start or work for a great internet start-up
  • Freedom to call on whom I wanted
  • Freedom to travel
  • Freedom to connect to the outdoors.  I had to have a big window in my office!
  • Freedom to make more money

I found all this in a new career.  I was really happy.

Thank God I did this!

Who knew I would have to leave this career 3 years later when Mom got dx. with ALS?

My dad also had a similar experience after doing the work in the book. His mission in life had changed.  He left his job, pursued a new career and new life, moving our family from the Chicago suburbs to near Washington, DC where he was raised and still had family. He was really happy. He thrived.

Thank God he did this work!

Who knew he would die from Cancer by age 51? 

Maybe that is what drives me.

Life is so short friends. Why not do what you love?

Why not find out sooner rather than later? Why live with regret?

I advise people to identify their passions and strengths, then to use them to serve themselves and others in work, family, ministry, careers and the community. Knowing and honoring your passions, strengths and weaknesses is liberating, and can be a guiding light to propel you forward to do great things.

Now, look back to the quote above.  It is notable that after over 45 years of career counseling and many career books, Richard Bolles most recent book is a simple spiritual guide called “Finding Your Mission in Life.”

Take Another Step. Choices do Matter.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Afloat.”

Can telling our stories bring us afloat and help others too? 

I know so! See how survivors, thrivers, dreamers, story tellers and fellow runners Bruce McIntyre and Jim Willett learned to do this despite both hearing those dreaded words: “You… have…cancer.” 

Bruce: Choices Do Matter  http://www.choicesdomatter.org/you-have-cancer/

Jim : Take Another Step  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vyjM2S6MGPU

What a day!

Beauty, Resilience.

IMG_3584 This picture of our beautiful grandmother, Alice Hill Rupertus, also known as “Sleepy” is something I treasure.  I found myself gazing at it last night during a quiet moment while reading in our library.

The photo was taken in 1946: At the christening of the USS Rupertus, named for our grandfather, her husband Major General William Rupertus USMC, who passed away of a sudden heart attack in 1945, at the end of WWII.

In this photo, she was just about the break the bottle of champagne against the ship in order to christen it with good cheer and blessings right before the destroyer rolled out to sea moments later in Lowell, Massachusetts.

I’ll have to post a photo of when she broke the bottle against the ship! It must have felt great after what she had been through.

My sister still has the shattered glass in a special wooden case.

Beside her (though not pictured here) are my father (age 5) her sister Dixie, a minister, and the Commander of the ship.

I have learned from family and friends stories that she was a beautiful, smart, elegant, graceful, joyful and fun spirited woman.

In the late 1990’s, we actually had the opportunity to meet some of the ship’s crew at a USS Rupertus reunion in Virginia Beach. Though the group’s ages spanned decades, the common bond of service on the same ship connected then, no matter what rank.

How exciting it was to meet the WWII sailors who had been serving on the USS Rupertus the day it was christened!  They had seen our grandmother that very day! In our conversations, they shared stories, what it was like leaving the safety of a US port for war, and how “Mrs. Rupertus’s” stunning beauty and grace during the bitter-sweet christening, gave them some peace.

A life altering path was ahead for many of them that day.

Sleepy is an inspiration to me.

The sudden loss of her husband and stark reality of raising their 5 year old son, as a single female in her early 30’s (especially in 1945), must have been devastating.

In those sparkling blue Irish eyes I see sadness of course, but also see a strong, kind person and resilient spirit. A spirit she must have called on, over and over to move forward in the years ahead.

Ah. The stories we all have.

Stories and photos connect the dots and light the path for those of us left behind.

Sleepy died of Leukemia just 7 years after this photo was taken.

Our father was only 16.

What a portrait of beauty AND perseverance.

Beautiful Sleepy. We love you.

Fin. APR

“I” for Inspiration and “E” for Exuberance

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Twenty-Five.” I need these 2 vowels to not be silent today.

“I” for Inspiration:

The #ALSicebucketchallenge.

Last summer, people of all races, ages, abilities, and incomes were inspired by the #ALSIceBucketChallenge (IBC) to dump a bucket of ice on their heads or donate money in the name of ALS …including me!

Some vocal folks thought it was crazy or a fad.

Not me. My mom had ALS….See post: https://carpooldaze.wordpress.com/2014/10/27/come-talk-to-me/)

“E” for Exuberance.

Heart leaping, joy skipping, spirit soaring exuberance is what I felt yesterday in discovering that the IBC has raised over $220 million dollars worldwidesince just last summer. http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2014/12/12/ice-bucket-challenge-has-raised-220-million.html

And…..then the news gets even better.  

The dollars raised are in already in action!

Multidisciplinary ALS clinics that had been previously closed are begin re-opened and re-staffed, new research is being funded, essential patient programs, services, and technology are being re-ignited and delivered. See http://www.alsa.org for details.

Lives are changing.

A simple challenge started in Boston.

Enormous impact worldwide.

Thanks to the Frates family and friends!

Mom's License plate.
Mom’s License plate.

American Sniper “Breathe”

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Silver Screen.”


American Sniper: Bradley Cooper

As someone who comes from a military family I want to briefly focus on the movie American Sniper, which has been on my heart and mind since seeing it, and then close with some thoughts on the civilian military divide.

Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of US Navy Seal Chris Kyle is Academy award worthy.

Through Cooper’s studied work (and 8 years supporting the USO), and screen writer Jason Hall and Clint Eastwood’s guidance, they were able to show the rest of us (any controversy aside) a clarifying glimpse of what Chris Kyle, our soldiers, and their families go through at war, and later when they work to assimilate back home.

The precision Cooper displayed in showing Kyle’s incredible mastery of his mind, body and rifle is stunning. His watchful eye (like a hawk), steady body, mindful breathe and quiet patience before shooting (or not) was remarkable. In the movie, whenever he said the simple word “breathe”, my heart-rate shot up and I held my breath, knowing I could never be as steady under such duress.

The care for his family and fellow soldiers was also compelling.

Cooper demonstrated in the movie that separation from families during service is very hard on both parties but the toughest battle often arrives when the soldiers come home.

The soldier’s separation from their mission, their buddies, along with explosive memories of battle and loss, can create a haunting void.

Or, it can allow opportunities for resilience, as we saw with Chris Kyle.

So thanks Bradley Cooper and Clint Eastwood and the brave ones in our media who strive greatly to inform. Thanks to the Kyle family for allowing this movie.  I hope it wins an award, or many. 

Movies like these, and related stories and discussions, will drive us to better understand and support our military and veterans, perhaps closing the divide between us.  

Interestingly, only 0.05% of the American population serves in our military in comparison to 12% in WW11.*  Wow.

US Navy Seal and sniper Chris Kyle was one of those very few and brave Americans who step up to serve their country today.

Just O.5% serve?

This is cause for great pause, awe and utter gratitude.

And then just maybe worth a look in the mirror. What are the rest of us doing for our country? Our communities?

#courage #honor #duty

The fact the soldiers go on multiple deployments is also cause for pause. Just imagine if another 1% of Americans would choose to serve?

How did we get so far removed from serving our country?

How did we get so far away from supporting our military and veterans, in the good and bad?

Or simply putting out an American flag to show our support for the USA – everyday?

As Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired Army lieutenant-general said, “The civilian-military divide erodes the sense of duty that is critical to the health of our democratic republic, where the most important office is that of the citizen. While the armed forces retool for the future, citizens cannot be mere spectators.” *

And as writers Eikenberry and David Kennedy go on to write, “Somehow, soldier and citizen must once again be brought to stand side by side.”

* #courage #honor #duty #serve

*Americans and Their Military Drifting Apart? \http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/27/opinion/americans-and-their-military-drifting-apart.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

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