Running to Smell the Roses

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I was running along a trail in Breck today and spotted a beautiful flower, so I stopped to snap a photo of it (and take a breather since I had just come back to life at 10,000 ft!!).

It was a simple act, pretty mundane actually, but when I let myself really pause and admire the flower and focus on capturing the photo at just the right angle, it made me smile big. And then as I was running back, that little act got me thinking about why people say to “stop and smell the roses.”

It changes EVERYTHING.

I started to look around more keenly at all of life passing by. I didn’t just glance at the fairy village on this special trail, but I let myself stop and admire it and notice the intricate details. I smiled big again thinking about the person who took time to create it.

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And as I got back into the main village of Breck, I started to look for beauty, for noteworthy, for special. It was ALL around me. The soothing sound of the Blue River. The afternoon light on all of the flowers. The musicians delighting a crowd. A couple holding hands or smiling at their child.

All the wonderful things that life is made of.

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So what if I had to stop my run for a second to appreciate it? It was totally worth it.

I feel like that happens a lot in life. We are all running towards something. The next event. The next goal. Something better, something easier, something more.

But what is the point? I would argue that one of the “points” of the running is so that we can have the luxury of stopping to smell the roses.

Well, why wait? 

Stop now. Pause now. Live eyes wide open now.

Play that game with your kid.

Smile and say hi to everyone walking by.

Listen. Really listen. To the person in front of you. To nature around you.

Write that postcard to a friend.

Watch the whole sunset or the moon rise.

Take a walk.

Sing, play your instrument, dance to the music playing loudly.

There’s so much good. So much to see and appreciate.

I really do try to live life like this daily. It keeps my heart grateful. It keeps me from taking for granted those little things, and keeps me connected to real life – the people I love and the beautiful world God gave us to enjoy and explore.

So, let’s keep “running.” Let’s keep in shape and keep going after those big dreams and goals in life. But let’s enjoy the roses – the people and the beauty – all along the way!

 

 

 

How You Do One Thing…

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Last month, I had the privilege of listening to an amazing speaker Cecilia Stoll at Arbonne’s Global Training Conference. She said many things that impacted my heart and mind, but one of the most memorable to me was, “How you do one thing is how you do everything.”

It was a call to be excellent in ALL things. The little and the big. But especially the little. Because the standards we have for ourselves in those seemingly unimportant tasks somehow carry over into the more meaningful, impactful ones.

I think a lot of it has to do with how we see ourselves. And as humans, we are wired to be congruent. If we believe we are kind, hard-working, excellent, and courageous, when faced with opportunities that demand those things, we step into them without question. But if we know ourselves to be a person who cuts a corner every now and then either out of laziness or lack of character, then we can’t trust that inconsistency. And sometimes that inconsistency can be costly.

It’s not worth it. May as well work on being vigilant in all the little day-to-day decisions. Here are just a few:

  1. Flossing ūüôā
  2. Responding timely and respectfully to emails or texts
  3. Being kind and gracious, never gossiping
  4. Reading every day
  5. Exercising each day
  6. Keeping the counters clean and ready
  7. Saying yes to opportunities, even when nervous
  8. Always giving more value
  9. Making your bed every morning

I, myself, am trying to repeat this mantra each day and becoming aware of all the little ways I can step it up. But we have also been repeating it a lot to our kids these last few weeks as we want them to have the same awareness and standards of excellence for themselves. In our home, on the field, with their friends. It’s a great reality to live into!

 

 

Take Them Hiking

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Our family has always enjoyed hiking. Since the kids were toddlers, we took them exploring on trails and¬†jumping¬†in rivers, lakes, and streams all over Texas. As they’ve grown, the distances of our hikes have also grown. Over the last four years, we’ve chased¬†popular trails all around the Western US, hiking through most of the National Parks. We even backpacked in the Sierra Nevadas for 3 nights, hiking about 8 miles each day.

There are so many benefits to hiking with your kids when they are small:

  1. Balance and coordination – Trails are not flat and predictable like sidewalks. While walking along trails is very natural for a kid, it’s not easy the first times if they’ve only walked on sidewalks. It takes another level of focus when hiking over roots, or *around* puddles or on rocks. I feel like it keeps both their minds and limbs sharp. Falling is never fun, but if they do, it’s best to just check their hands and scraped knees, compliment them, and send them on their way again. No biggie.
  2. Observation and appreciation – Kids naturally notice things. And nature affords countless opportunities to notice the intricacies and complexity of plants and animals. I loved it when our kids would pause to observe an insect or stop to listen for bird calls. It’s never a waste of time to take as long as a kid wants to really study something new on a trail.
  3. Inner Peace – I can’t say this without thinking of Kung Fu Panda! But get any hyperactive kid on a trail, and watch them gradually relax minute by minute. It’s fascinating for me to watch. The first few minutes are sometimes harried¬†making sure you have everything you need for the hike and figuring out the way to go, but then……once everyone is in their groove, it’s like magic.You only have one task in front of you: walk. It makes everything in life simple. Your mind starts forgetting the silly distractions of regular life (for both adults and kids). And everyone just has to focus on each step in front of them, listening to the sounds of nature, and then, the best part, enjoying each other. There’s an inner peace that naturally occurs¬†as you enter another world with trees and beauty¬†and family/friends all around.

All that being said, hiking with tweens and teens is MUCH different! They have opinions. They have attitudes. They are unpredictable. They could have uber energy and want to blaze ahead independently or feel lazy and want to just lag behind moping. They have friends and other activities they’d usually prefer over a “boring walk” with family. They think they know what’s better.

But all those same benefits above are still why it’s just as important to take your older kids hiking, too!!! It’s just a little harder emotionally to make it all happen. But don’t let that stop you, parents! ūüėČ

Our kids are now 15, 13, and 11. Over the last year, we hadn’t been pushing them as much to hike with us. Ultimately, we want them to choose it for themselves. They are always invited, but we’d rather not make it a “battle.” But yesterday was Mother’s Day, and I just wanted to do my favorite thing in the world (hike). Our kids were willing to oblige, so I took advantage of the gift.

While there was a slight bit of “hemming and hawing,” I just stayed upbeat and positive and patiently waited for them to just shed their subpar attitudes. One of my “tricks” is to make them go ahead of me. They get to lead and control the pace which always makes a difference. They get to notice things first like a beautiful waterfall or hoary marmot! We sometimes play games like “GOAT” or “I Spy” if they need it or I’ll mention something to look forward to at the end of the hike (like mochi ice cream from Whole Foods ūüôā ) Whatever works and helps them to embrace the hiking experience! Good snacks and plenty of water is always a must as well.

Yesterday, we hiked up about 1.4 miles to see Hanging Lake at the top of Glenwood Canyon. We walked up along a rushing stream which offered us countless waterfalls and photo opps. The evening sun was perfect for lighting and temperature. It really was gorgeous and serene.

And within 10-15 minutes I noticed that inner peace magic start to happen. We got lost in our thoughts and also appreciated the amazing scenery around us. We had great conversations about school and our summer ahead. And we just enjoyed each other, which is the best gift any parent could ask for. It will definitely be a memory to look back on as a family, and makes me so glad we made the effort to get them on trails with us!

 

Seasons Change

As we near the end of our active winter season, I gave myself a treat and holed up in our snowglobe of a home to put together our family fall slideshow.

It evoked so many different emotions I wasn’t anticipating. This was the first year our boys went full-time to public school, and their absence hit me when scrolling through our fall hike photos and videos. They weren’t in them! It was just me and Jadyn!¬†It¬†made me appreciate those special hikes and memories with her, as it may well have been my last fall with Jadyn, too! She’ll be jumping into middle school next year herself.

This was also a big year for Isaac as he turned 13! I loved reliving his celebration week through the pics and thinking about how deeply he is loved. He’s grown so much this year, attacking his studies like a boss, and mostly just realizing for himself how much he has to offer the world with his ideas and strength. He is thoughtful and insightful and leads others well.

The songs I chose for this slideshow were mostly for him. The first one reminds him so much of our first year of Freejourner travel, as he’d replay it often, “Far from home…but we’re so happy.” And the second song, Something Wild¬†by Lindsey Stirling was more of a hope and wish for him, and one we listened to hundreds of times this fall:

You’ve got a big heart
The way you see the world
It got you this far
You might have some bruises
And a few of scars
But you know you’re gonna be okay
And even though you’re scared
You’re stronger than you know
If you’re lost out where the lights are blinding
Caught in all, the stars are hiding
That’s when something wild calls you home, home
If you face the fear that keeps you frozen
Chase the sky into the ocean
That’s when something wild calls you home, home
I think the outdoors will always be “home” to our family. We can always hit a trail to find that peace and clarity. It’s familiar and comforting. It’s a gift we intentionally wanted to give our kids. Ironically, there’s a security in the unknown and the wild that will be a constant for them.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons because of the colors. Here in Colorado, the Aspen yellow is the brightest. The golden leaves just sparkle and shine in the sunlight.¬†It’s magical.

Fall also represents change, and I guess it’s just hitting me more strongly these days as a parent. Our kids are big now. I’m not spending as much time in the daily grind of academics with them, and I miss our down-time hours together playing games or watching movies as a family. We cherish car rides now and meal hours to catch up and connect.

When I was in high school, I memorized a poem by Robert Frost, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.” It’s about change, and it’s a bit pessimistic, honestly, but I loved how one of the main characters in the movie, The Outsiders turned it positively and told Ponyboy, “Stay Gold, Stay Gold.”

That message was a great way to end our slideshow, as a neat reminder to our family to hold onto those experiences and memories that are treasures that shape us, even as we push ahead to new seasons and adventures that await.

Business is About Relationships

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I recently got a FB message from a dear old friend and neighbor letting me know that she’d found me as a consultant when she was wanting to purchase some Arbonne products. It was totally out-of-the-blue and such a neat surprise!! I had not connected with her in a few years, as she moved to California and we’ve been traveling.

I gave¬†her a call, and we¬†were able to catch up for a while. Both of us have two boys and a girl, and it’s been neat to watch each other’s children grow up on social media. But it’s completely different to get to talk in person and have someone fill in the gaps of time for you. It was such a treat!

That is one of the main reasons I love direct sales and business in general. It offers a unique focal point, incentive, and impetus to get in touch and stay in touch with those people you care about. Life is busy and the hours and days pass quickly. As much as we don’t like it, it’s hard to consistently stay in touch with people where there is “just one point of resonance.” (quoting my friend Joyce, here!)

We find ourselves hanging with co-workers or team parents or neighbors just because of convenience. (although, we are pretty lucky to have awesome friendships with our kids’ teams’ parents and have had awesome neighbors in the past, too!)

But imagine if you got to connect regularly with those people you enjoy the most! Those that share same values and goals. Family, health, financial freedom, fun, personal growth, adventure, helping others. That’s what business looks like for me.

People are savvy enough to do a sniff test around manipulation. Business is about bringing real value. And about genuinely caring about someone else’s problems or challenges. If you listen well, you can usually find some place where you can offer help – whether it’s a new contact, a product, or a resource. Sometimes, it’s just a listening and compassionate ear. I try to always be honest, thinking about what would work best for the other person.

If that’s the way you also like to do business, we should talk. Would love to share more about an opportunity that could be meaningful and profitable¬†for you and your family!

Start Your Day Off Well

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Doesn’t life often feel like the movie Groundhog Day? For most people, we fall asleep and wake up in the same bed, go through the same rhythms, and hit the reset button each day. While our own family has certainly tried to shake up the mundaneness of this routine by long-term traveling, there is still a daily grind inherent to life.

Life should have meaning and purpose, adventure and opportunity. You can make a big impact on those around you when you are clear about what’s most important. But sometimes it’s hard to see above the clouds.

One of the best ways to combat the typical rat-race is to be very intentional with your morning routines. From making your bed to setting up a morning practice as described in the Miracle Morning which includes exercise, reading, meditation, visualization, and affirmations Рit has been proven that these simple habits can impact your entire life greatly. High caliber individuals are very protective of their morning hours.

Research shows that we tend to be most creative immediately after we wake up. Our brain is rested and increases its ability to make connections, which is when creativity happens. This is why many authors just begin writing after their basic morning habits.

We’ve liked this rhythm for our mornings over the last couple of years:

  1. Wake up, wash up, make bed
  2. Have an easy breakfast with 20-30 grams of protein
  3. Write and get to work on most important creative projects
  4. Read, answer emails
  5. Take a break to exercise mid-morning

Tim Ferriss suggests to get 30 grams of protein, 30 minutes after you wake up. This keeps your body from feeling those mid-morning crashes. Eggs are a great option for protein, but Don and I have really come to love protein shakes even more. We use Arbonne’s vanilla protein powder and Califia coconut milk as the base and then add frozen berries or green apple, a handful of spinach, chia and flaxseeds, fiber, and Greens Balance. If we need more protein or are working out regularly, we will add the Arbonne Protein Boost or a banana as well.

It is surprisingly filling, easy to make, and gets us off and running for the day without experiencing those typical blood-sugar crashes later. We don’t always know where the rest of the day will lead with meals or social gatherings, but we love knowing that we started the day right with so much great nutrition.¬†It’s one thing that we don’t mind feeling like Groundhog Day¬†with because it’s so delicious and frees us up to be creative and spontaneous in the rest of life.

Is there something you’d like to improve on your morning routine?

 

Staying Flexible

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If you asked me on Monday morning what I was doing on Wednesday, I would not have known. By mid-afternoon, I had plans to play tennis with my friend, Amy. By Tuesday morning, our plans had changed, and we were going to snowboard/ski together instead at Keystone!

And then Tuesday afternoon, I got a text from the marketing director at Keystone Resort asking if we’d like to join for a powder day photo/video shoot the next morning!! That sent all other plans out the window and me into a barrage of texts to coordinate the special opportunity. I was inviting other kids to join us and asking our friend Vickie who lived at Keystone if we could spend the night at her¬†house so we¬†could easily get to the mountain the next morning.

I’m so grateful for these friends, Amy and Vickie. Vickie was most hospitable (as always!) letting me and three kiddos crash at her place within a few hours notice. And I told Amy that I wouldn’t be able to snowboard with her after all, and she said it was fine! “You can always cancel on me because I totally understand,” she said.

And that’s why we’re friends! We love living in this beautiful place with a boatload of amazing adventures and options EVERY SINGLE DAY, so I think everyone is generally loose about plans because new things pop up each day. I also think it’s unique living here in this area, because we inherently know that things can change at any moment…the weather forces us to live that reality of life. It¬†can change here within the hour. A bus delay, or getting stuck in the snow, or just even taking the wrong turn down a ski run and ending up at the wrong lift can quickly alter plans. And we learn that that’s totally ok. We learn to roll with it, to look for the good in it all, to be patient and understanding. All the time.

Staying flexible this week allowed us to coordinate an amazing photo/video shoot with a fun crew of these awesome young snowboarders and friends. Here are a couple photos that we’ve seen published to Instagram so far, and we can’t wait to see what else Keystone puts together with some of the video footage they captured!

I realize that people who really are naturally flexible don’t necessarily need to talk about it (or write about it! ;)) They just live it, without even thinking about it.

So, the fact that it is something notable may say something about me! Ha! I feel like I’ve been on a long journey of becoming more flexible in life. And so, if there are any others out there on this similar journey, here are my best two cents to embrace it:

  1. Life is more fun when you are flexible. Plain and simple. You don’t get disappointed as much because you don’t hold on as tightly to expectations of plans or people.
  2. You live life more “eyes wide open” looking for the surprises and opportunities instead of trying to control the fun and plan everything out.
  3. You learn to be more patient and gracious with others and with yourself. And relationships are just more meaningful and long-lasting with patience and grace.

And I’ll just end with some favorite quotes I found on flexibility:

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. -Michael McGriffy, MD

Flexibility is the key to stability. – John Wooden

Problems disappear when we become willing to be flexible. – Roxana Jones