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Need Change? Be The Change.

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I put on this shirt FiA yesterday that was created in honor of Charlotte’s Ruth Samuelson to go walk our dog. She must have whispered to me out there! While walking I felt a little voice inside telling me to update this post here and repost on FiAnation.com, our female fitness group.

Was she really whispering to me? With all that is happened the past 2 years in FiA, F3 and our country, I think maybe she was! #PoliPower. We have seen so much change and need change.

With all this change are you inspired to change something?

We are more than half way into 2017. Better get changing.

Why not do a half-time assessment?

To give you some ideas, I wanted to tell you about a conversation on change I had with Ruth.  Ruth was a living example of how “being the change” in small and big ways can positively impact ones family, community and politics.

She was a loving daughter, sister, wife, mom, grandmother, community leader and public servant. Ruth was athletic and loved to workout at 5:15am with her daughter Joy, who we know and love (FiA Santiago) and FiAs. When she suddenly got diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer May 2016, and we found out the cancer had spread, it was a complete shocker to everyone who knew and loved her. Ruth?

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 remember. I personally will always remember her genuineness, that bright smile, willingness to connect and her simple advice.

About 3 years ago, Ruth and I were having lunch together in Charlotte talking about life and change. I was at a crossroads trying to figure out where to best focus my activator type A energy. Should I stay focused on my work and community fitness efforts or launch a female start-up to stop the division in our politics and party? (Ha, ha. I had good intentions!).

When I asked Ruth for some guidance on this, she gazed at me for a pensive moment. You know that gaze if you knew Ruth. She said, “I like that FiA thing.” On stoping division and negativity in this political climate? 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 clarifying moment with Ruth. No matter her viewpoint, she was always so calm. So matter of fact. She sure loved ruffling us up by engaging change. She wanted change in her city so she put herself in the arena. She put name on the ballot, got elected, and went into politics where she could get engaged with others to contribute to the change she wanted to see in the community and state.

Unlike Ruth, I was not ready to run for office or to force change.

Force change. Nobody likes that.

Want change? The key is you have to step up in your life to engage change.

It’s like Ruth putting her name on the ballot. One small step forward may lead to dramatic change. So let’s do a half-time assessment:

What line in the sand do you need to step over this weekend to create change?

3 ideas to spark movement:

  • Re-organize your busy life: The days and years fly by really fast! Tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us. Assess: Are you living the life you imagined or is your life a blur? Get focused and planning. What and who matter most to you? Eliminate the junk and take action on what brings you joy. You will avoid living with regret.
  • Be the life-changer: We are our brothers and sisters keepers right? What positive impact can you make today? Make a decision to turn your pain, anger, frustration or sadness into a mission for change. Look up. Say hello. Be the smile, humor and patience you need. Be the calm in someone’s storm. Be the friend in someone’s loss. Be the mentor in confusion. Be the strength in weakness. Be the light in darkness. Be the bridge to conversation. Be the doer of good we need in this world.
  • Pray it up: As forward focused change agents we need to exercise, pray it up, give thanks, and thenlet it go to avoid the stress that can pull us backwards. Ruth prayed a lot everyday and is probably still praying for us in Heaven. Pray it up to Ruth. She loves to talk! Pray it up to God and your family in Heaven. Have quiet conversations at home, in your car, on a walk, etc. Let God worry about your worries. He is vast. We are so small.

#BeTheChange

Written in honor of #PoliPower #LatiniStrong #CoopStrong #CheechStrong #RapunzelStrong #NashStrong #SydneyStrong #SharretStrong #TaylorStrong #Dadstrong #MomStrong and all you all.

#LiveLoveLead

Fin. Amy Peacock

June 30, 2017

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Thrive.

A few years ago my husband and I had the great opportunity to meet Dan Buettner who is a world cyclist, adventurer, researcher and author of health books The Blue Zones and Thrive.

His talk was about his research into the healthiest communities in the world.

He started out by asking the audience of 100 adults a powerful question:

“Did you walk or bike to school as a kid?” Every one of us raised our hand.

“Do your kids walk or bike to school now?” Not one person raised their hand.

That got our attention Dan!

His research was inspired by the Danish Twin Studies, among others, which established that only 25% of how long the average person lives is dictated by genes. In other words almost 80% of how long and how well you live is up to you. 

Beginning in 2004 Dan, along with longevity geneticists, medical researchers, anthropologists, demographic scientists, epidemiologists funded by National Geographic, identified pockets of people across the world who live the longest and are the happiest.

Then they went to visit them!

They were searching for evidence-based common denominators among all places.

They termed these healthy pockets “Blue Zones.”

In these Blue Zones they found that people reach age 100 at rates 10 times greater than in the United States! And they have astoundingly low incredible lower rates of cancer, heart disease and diabetes, those big and nasty killers in the US. Here is what else they found.

9 common traits in Blue Zone members:

1. They move naturally all day.

The world’s longest-lived people don’t just pump iron, run marathons or join gyms. Instead, they live in environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about.

Think: Do I really need to drive to the library or grocery store? Can I walk or ride a bike? Can I get a stand up desk? Take a walk at lunch outside? Get a dog and walk it?

2. They know their Purpose. 

The Okinawans call it “Ikigai” and the Nicoyans in Costa Rica call it “plan de vida;” for both it translates to “why I wake up in the morning.” Knowing your sense of purpose is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy!!!

Identify what you are passionate about and pursue it as your purpose daily.

3. They take time to Down Shift.

They experience stress like we do. But they take time to relax every day. Okinawans take a few moments each day in the am to remember their ancestors, Seventh DayAdventists (Lomo Linda, CA) pray, Ikarians (Greece) take a nap and Sardinians (Italy) do happy hour with friends.

Take time to relax, meditate, and give thanks daily. We know stress leads to chronic inflammation which contributes to very major age-related disease. Why feed the monster?

4. They stop eating when they are just 80% full.
“Hara hachi bu” –Is the  Okinawan, 2500-year old Confucian mantra said before meals which reminds Okinawans to stop eating when their stomachs are 80 percent full.

Think. Do you really need that extra helping?

5. They eat a lot of beans and plants.

They have a “Plant Slant.” They eat what they grow too. Vegetables and beans, including fava, black, soy and lentils, are the basics of most centenarian diets. Meat—mostly pork—is eaten on average only five times per month.

Start small: Double daily intake of beans and veggies.

6. They enjoy wine moderately. 

People in all Blue Zones (except Adventists) drink alcohol moderately and regularly with friends and/or with food. Moderate drinkers outlive non-drinkers in these zones. The trick is to drink 1-2 glasses per day (preferably Sardinian Cannonau wine says Dan).

If you can drink just 1 or 2, do.

7. They have a faith-based community. 

All but five of the 263 centenarians they interviewed belonged to some faith-based community. Denomination doesn’t seem to matter. Research shows that attending faith-based services four times per month will add 4-14 years of life expectancy!

We need God and each other. Find a faith community and connect.

8. They put loved ones first. 

Successful centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This means keeping aging parents and grandparents nearby or in the home (It lowers disease and mortality rates of elders and children).  Neighbors of all ages are also active in visiting other families and learning from elders.

Have you talked to or hugged your family lately? Checked in with your neighbor?

9. They have like-minded friends

Dan said,

“The world’s longest lived people chose–or were born into–social circles that supported healthy behaviors, Okinawans created ”moais”–groups of five friends that committed to each other for life.

Research from the Framingham Nurses Studies shows that smoking, obesity, happiness, and even loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.”

Connect with a healthy, caring tribe daily.

It is so interesting that 6, 7,8 and 9 are all about the power of connecting in community.

Try to apply some of these tips today and let me know how it goes.

Check out Dans new mission – Creating Blue Zones across the US! http://www.bluezones.com/live-happier/thrive-centers/

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.”

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

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&

How to Fail Forward

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Embrace the Ick.”

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Last year the “Ick” arrived again by complete surprise.

You may have experienced this kinda “Ick” yourself when you got some awful news!

Personally,  I was blindsided.  I lost my trust in other’s.  I felt misunderstood.  I was angry. I was hurt, bruised and confused.

I even got physically sick.

Then, while living with the “Ick” over a few long weeks, I finally came to realize something had to change.  The”Ick” had way too much control over me.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn” say’s author John Maxwell.

It was my season to learn.

I made a concerted effort to gain wisdom from the “Ick.”  I took the time to learn how leaders of all kinds faced crisis and prevailed, or failed at something and applied lesson’s learned to move onward with success.

Then I wrote it all down.

Doing this work helped turn the “Ick” into light and my loss into a win.

Thankfully, I finally learned to #Fail-forward.

What a Day!

Fin. APR

Why What a Day blog?

The 2014 Push Onward.

1. Research: I researched leadership, resilience, trust, community, health, anger, positive thinking and the power of the brain to change. Important stuff to share.

2. Mentor: My former English teacher, Dave Sharrett, encouraged me to write.  Not only had Dave and his wife been a huge support when my Dad died, he understood grief at its highest level. He lost his own son, Dave, aka “Bean” to war.

3. Reality: Life is short. Cut to the chase. I participated in the SouthEastern Brain Tumor Foundation Race for Research on the Babes with Brains team for the 3rd time on behalf of Jen Gilberto, my amazing Babe with Brains friend, who has a “piece of shit” brain tumor (see her blog at Greymatterlife.com).  Over the weekend, Jen and I had been discussing transparency, writing and life.  She finally said, “Amy, what are you waiting for? You need to start pressing publish!”

4: Freedom: I heard it yet once again, this time from Ron Carter, President of JCSU: “When you tell your story, it sets you free, and lights the path for others.”

What a day!

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