With the Odds

IMG_6156I used to think that I was a winner despite my hardships. Even though I’m a single parent, in the army, going to school- I’m still a champion. But I’ve realized that my success isn’t despite the issues I have faced and continue to face daily; I am a champion because of my hardships.
The reason I’m successful at work is partially because of the mental fortitude football has taught me. The reason I’m good at football is because of the discipline and physical demands the Army has placed on me. When I’m about to jump out of an airplane and my nerves kick in I simply think, “I tackle some strong bitches.” When I am lining up for kick off, staring down my opponent and my jitters are starting to engulf me, I remember that I jump out of planes. It is just a continuous positive feedback loop.

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Champions don’t live ordinary lives. We don’t spend our days doing conventional things. Just this week Iyla and I were given some free tickets to Cirque du Solei (over an hour away) on a school night. I knew that there was no way we would make it home before midnight but we went anyways. Iyla was exhausted at school the next day and probably didn’t retain much information. But seeing her eyes light up as the acrobats were swinging under that circus tent reinforced my decision to bring her anyways. You never know what small quick decision will lead to a gold mine. On a Tuesday night in Redmond, Iyla saw the glitter and gold of some amazing performers, which may be something that sticks with her forever. Maybe it showed her a little real-life magic, the stuff we can’t always see. Just enough for her to believe in her dreams, no matter how big they are.

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My quick and unsure decision to play football led to 2 national championships, 2 all-fantasy selections, and most importantly, life long friends. My decision to ask my buddies to watch Iyla so that I could try out for a sport I had never played led to moments like this-

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Imagine for a minute; you worked a long day and you’re now about to battle that I5 traffic to get to football. Your last practice didn’t go well, and coach yelled at you for an hour. You’re paying a babysitter, committing to 4 hours of football, and you don’t truly think you’ll ever step on that game field. You watch motivational videos on repeat just to convince yourself to do this. It’s raining, cold, and everyone is getting yelled at today. This isn’t a great place to be in mentally or physically.
Practice ends, and everyone is sitting on the grass, changing out of cleats, drained, defeated, and silent. We are all disappointed because we let our coach and each other down. The rain perfectly reflects how each of us feel on the inside.
After minutes of silence, coach finally breaks in with, “What’s your Why?”
Every single person on that field expressed to the group their reasoning for being there on the cold, rainy field that night. As the topic passed from woman to woman, I quickly realized that everyone has their struggle, their story, their issues, and most importantly their why. The “why’s” vary, but the heart of a champion doesn’t. The heart of a champion knows that pain is a prefix to pleasure. Champions aren’t champions despite struggles. They don’t run from them. They win because they lower their shoulder, drive  their feet and run through the hardships; it hurts less that way.

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I don’t recall any specific Tuesday night at the house, cooking dinner, and watching television- But I do remember that Tuesday night at Milton; Iyla was there too. You can choose to see me as a less than ideal mom by having my child out there in the rain with me, but I can’t let myself see it like that. Iyla has continuously watched strong women fight like gladiators and win like champions (with occasional crying sessions too).
When you are in your last few years of life, reflecting on the things you contributed, you won’t be thinking about the Saturday that you slept in. You will remember the grind it took, the sleepless nights, the feeling of never quite having it all together. You’ll remember that comradery, the feeling of being a part of something much bigger than yourself, because if that isn’t life, what is?

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It’s not “against all odds anymore.” Any gambler knows that the higher the odds, the bigger the payout.

This is bigger than me.
#withtheodds2019

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Visceral

Dear Iyla,

The hardest thing about being a parent, for me, is keeping things from you. There are just some things that you’re not ready to know. I could tell you, but you wouldn’t truly understand.

Tomorrow I’ll be leaving your physical side again, and when you’re five, that may not make sense.

I can’t tell you how hard this will be. I can’t tell you that it’s unfair. I refuse to praise you or coddle you for the position you are in. I will not allow anyone to make you feel different or worse off than any other kid. Every human being should face a hardship and this is yours. It is your duty to use it to your advantage. But don’t worry, I’ll show you how.

For today, I just want to tell you this:

  • You are responsible for harboring your own happiness, but sometimes that takes time. Many people want you to believe that your life needs to be peaceful all the time. That just isn’t true. “I’m not happy. “That is an easy excuse for giving up. Before you speak those words, please examine your thoughts and ask yourself, Why?” If you’re not happy because something is hard, I would plead you to take time and fight before letting go. At the end of the day, anything can make you unhappy so be prepared to respond appropriately.  I can only dream that you will one day be so uncomfortable and exhausted from chasing your legacy, that you suffer a manageable amount of unhappiness. This is life. Feel it.
  •   A little fear is a natural part of true and meaningful existence. Those that are afraid of heights, refuse to climb. Some are afraid of water so they don’t swim. Many are afraid of being alone; they keep a constant partner. These are just a few examples of unacceptable fears. This is your one life. Climb, swim, and for the sake of your soul, spend time alone. Explore your thoughts, your hopes, and your dreams before you allow someone else to enter that space. There is only one rational fear about life; the brevity of it all. This fear should not hold you back from anything, but instead ignite a passion for creating your own universe and living fully in it. The world is pliable and you’ve got some strong hands.

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  • Bravery and distress are not inversely related. It’s logical to be courageous and fearful at the same time. Sometimes you must make a decision using your best judgement, even when you’re a little scared.
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  • Lastly, don’t forget; I’m your mom. A part of me surges through you every time your big heart beats. So anytime you feel lonely or sad, remember that I’m still with you. It’s a visceral love.  plane

One day I will praise you for the hardship you went through. I will remind you of it when your life gets tough again. Make no mistake, it will get tough again.

I will only tell you now, without hesitation, that your bravery and strength make me proud.

I love you always and I’ll see you soon.

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Biased

Bias: cause to feel or show inclination or prejudice for or against someone or something

 

1. Protection of your Heart

Biased thinking and actions are used as a perceived sense of protection.We are afraid of vulnerability.

Many of us feel vulnerable with our new president elect. Some are afraid that they will suffer physical or emotional harm after he takes over the White House. We use his past dictate his future and make assumptions about the things he will do.

Many do the same things when it comes to relationships. After meeting someone we immediately form a bias about them. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard girls talk about all the “f” boys that are in this world. They are all f boys right? You hear he is a player, and so that is what he will always be? But guys do the same thing. “She’s always texting me, she must be crazy.” All girls are crazy right?

We do this for protection. Something in the past has given us reason to build that wall, to shut people out. We want to protect our hearts, but that’s not the only thing we want to protect.

2. Protection of your Ego

When you are wrong about someone or something what hurts the most? Is it really your heart? Or is it just your ego.

Saying that Donald Trump will be a bad president won’t make him a better one. It really won’t change much at all. Maybe we say those negative things because we want something to be right about. It’s like we almost want him to fail. We have this bias against him thinking it will protect us. However, we will hypocritically say things like “I know you can change,” and “each day is a chance to be better,” to the people we know and care about.

When we are wrong about a relationship, why does it hurt so much? It hurts to be hurt. But I think it just really hurts to be wrong. It hurts so bad that we’ve gotta put up walls and armor so that it doesn’t happen again. We can’t help it.

 

But walls and armor can’t be up constantly. How can we ever truly feel or learn anything if we are so desensitized and biased? Yes, we have every right to protect our hearts and our egos but we do it so much that we aren’t even seeing things for what they truly are.

 

 

We need to recognize the fact that everyone has both positive and negative biases. Some cops use racial discrimination, some minorities commit crimes, some girls are crazy, some guys are losers, some Muslims are terrorists, some white men are rapists, some teens drink and drive and in fact democrats, republicans, socialists, communists, Catholics, Mormons, teachers, and every other label you can place on a person can do bad. We place people in boxes and assume those within each box are all alike.

Every one of us has the capability of doing horrendous things. Most just know how to control and resist a little better. It’s so much easier to demonize and compartmentalize people and ideas than to treat everyone and everything as unique.

 
Maybe now you’ll start to tear down some of your walls and take off your armor, just to get hurt again. You will fight the urge to say “I told you so,” or “I knew it.” You may never actually be able to avoid biases, but you should at least learn to manage and control them.
You might give someone a chance to hurt you or give yourself a chance to be wrong. But you also give someone else a chance to love you. You give yourself the ability to see the world for it is, without filters. Don’t let the actions of others, past or present, stop you from giving chances to other ideas, other people, or most importantly yourself.

Feel pain. Feel heartache. Feel inspired. Feel love. Be vulnerable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bye, Bye Baby Belly!

“How do you have abs after having a baby?” So many people ask me this question.

I haven't worked on the blog in a while but my friend Lacey just started her post baby weightloss journey and asked for some tips. So here you go girl! Keep up the good work!

1. Patience

 

Before you even begin your weight loss journey you should realize that it is going to take time if you want it to last. Think about it, your belly grew and stretched more and more every day for 9 months. It is normal for it to take that long or even longer to shrink back down, even with diet and exercise. So many moms are embarrassed and ashamed of their post baby weight for no reason. Be honest with yourself. If you want change your body, then follow the steps to do it. If you want to just use the excuse that you had babies and you can't lose the baby weight then do that instead. It took me about 6 months to lose the weight and another year to develop a strong core with visible ab muscles. Patience!

2. Row, Row, Row your Belly Fat Away!

Rowing is the best cardio and core exercise. I suggest adding in a 2000 meter row to your workouts 3 days a week. Save it for the end of your gym session and give it your all. Once you complete the 2000 m, finish with a 300 m cool down. This will probably only take you about 15 minutes or less. That time will get shorter and shorter as you go along. Always note your time for the 2000 m so you can see your progress. You can also add in rowing intervals into your workout routines. I like to do the 30:30 interval program on the machines. You will row as fast as you can for 30 seconds and then rest 30 seconds. I do this for 5 sets. Rowing is quick and beneficial. Ensure you are rowing correctly to get the full benefit. Make sure you use the power from your legs to push off and the arms will simply guide the handle to the back position. You should be leaning back slightly once you reach the back position. When you return to the starting position allow the handle to come forward to your knees before bending them. The longer the stride you get, the better. Check out this article for more information:

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/beauty/diet-fitness/advice/a3549/rowing-fitness-trend-1014/

3. Core Strenthening Exercises

No crunches please! You should be performing exercises that strenthen multiple abdominal muscles and supporting muscles like the lower back and hip flexors. I found that the moment I stopped doing “ab workouts” the faster my abs appeared. I began to strengthen my core through weightlifting. Front squats are a great way to work your core as well as your legs and glutes. It takes a lot of work from your core to keep your torso upright and squat. Along with weightlifting I add in some additional core exercises to keep my abs in check. Here are a few of my favorites:

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/abs-exercises

4. Clean Eating

 

Abs are made in the gym, but shown in the kitchen. It doesn't matter how hard you work in the gym. If you aren't eating a fairly healthy diet your core might be strong, but no one would know it by looking at you. Diets don't have to be perfect. I eat pizza and ice cream like every week but I make up for it by eating healthy the rest of the time. You should be cutting certain foods out as much as possible however. Avoid anything fried, breads, pastas, sugars, processed foods, high sodium foods, and any simple carb. Replace those items with vegetables. I follow the zone diet the majority of the time. This is the diet that has worked best for me.

Just be aware that you aren't going to see ab development right away. You are going to lose fat first and at the same time be making your core stronger. You aren't going to build muscle over fat. You will build muscle under it and your abs will reveal themselves once that layer of belly fat gets thinner and thinner. As long as you continue to make healthy choices and out effort in at the gym, you'll see results. It will be worth it in the end!

June 2012

 

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July 2014
 
 
 
I am not a certified personal trainer or a dietician. I am only speaking from personal experience and my own research.

 

 

 

 

A Venerable Legacy

Words do not fall so freely when I write of things I can't seem to understand.

How is it that that something so sinister can creep in without recognition? They say it's caused by this one day and that another. It's always said that cancer doesn't discrimate, yet it always seems to find the best people.

There are all types of evil in this world and it takes a great deal of bravery to face them. Many people call me brave and they claim to be proud. I take that seriously and I appreciate the sentiment. It usually does take a bit of courage to join the military.

However, the result of my bravery so far, has been profitable. My bills are more than paid, I have the promise of a pension, thirty vacation days a year, free healthcare, and even a little glamour at times.

But what about the kind of bravery that doesn't quite cash in? The kind of courage that can only offer the glimmer of another day on earth with family and friends?

Waking up with a positive attitude.. Being able to smile and live fully in the moment while facing an enormous amount of pain and uncertainty; that is bravery at its finest.

 

Mom and Mark,

What I will say ,from the bottom of my heart, is that you both make me proud.

Mom, you have been strong my entire life. That is nothing new to me. What is new, is the positive and adventurous woman that you came to be, because Mark is your catalyst.

Mark,

I've known my mom for nearly thirty years. In almost three decades, I've never seen her so happy and full of life as I have when she is with you. It's almost as if she started her life as soon as you entered into it. You are the owner of a beautifully creative mind, a kind soul, a positive spirt, and my mothers heart.

Although your intentions may not have been such, you both have set the example for me, of what true and enduring love looks like. My life and my outlook on love is forever changed because of the two of you. And now, at nearly thirty, I know that relationships can be beautiful and meaningful. I'll forever set the bar high for any man who wishes to enter my life. Then Iyla will have the proper example, and then her children, and the children after that.

Do you see what you've done? Your love for life, adventure, nature, and most importantly each other, is your legacy. It will be passed on to every human being that's ever truly known you.

 

I hope you wake up each morning with the intention of proving them wrong. I believe you can do it.

To me, you're a great man and a hero. Keep fighting.

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I love you.

 

My Space

The impulsivity of the world makes me uncomfortable. We are so obsessed with speeding the bullshit along. The brevity of life encourages me to do the opposite. Slow down and tell me something real.

There is this hidden space that surrounds us. Words are left unsaid, actions are not taken and thoughts are not explored. An entire universe of words, actions, and thoughts left for dead.

Plenty of people will think i'm crazy, but those aren't the kinds of people who I want to explore this universe with anyways. And if there's no one, if it's just me, I'd rather spend the time alone than with another, who will only destroy the space that makes me feel alive.

 

 

Don’t think about time, just take it.

All you need to do, is convince yourself. Convince yourself that what you’re doing is important. It’s not the big stuff that needs convincing. It’s all the little things. 

-That last rep matters

– That one homework problem matters 

-That bedtime story you read your kids- it matters

You’re not above anything. We live in a society that would rather be effiecent than effective. Be efficetive. Don’t look at the clock, look inside yourself. The time will pass regardless, just do what matters effectively. 

Filtered

Overall, fake news sources on Facebook are shared and liked more than trusted news sources. Social Media makes it easier and easier to distort the truth. Not only in news, but in lifestyles as well. When someone posts a picture, in most cases, it’s not the truth. We can basically photoshop a picture in 5 seconds. We are filtering our news & ourselves. 

“What’s the latest news?”

Well.. whatever you want it to be. Facebook learns your preferences with EVERY click you make. This doesn’t create new thoughts and ideas. This draws the line deeper and thicker between “us” and “them.” Fake news gives you a false reinforcement on ideas that may be completely false. Your job isn’t to prove your side is “right.” Your job is to discover truth in all things. We all have this obligation as human beings. 

If you truly believe that your ideas and opinions are the “correct ones,” then productively persuade or teach. It’s getting harder and harder to determine what is real and what is fake, however, sites named “the extreme conservative American ” or the “liberal left” will not suffice. 

Put your egos away and go to war with click bait, not each other.

And read a damn book. 

http://www.businessinsider.com/fake-news-outperformed-real-news-on-facebook-before-us-election-report-2016-11

Luck & Obligations 

How do we become successful? Is it hard work? Determination? Perseverance?  Passion? Or maybe a combination of many things?

I’m starting a new blog series about the benefits & obligations that come along with being born into good luck. The three major categories are-

1. Social Class 

2. Physical Appearance 

3. Skin Color 


I realized I’ve got too much to say so I’ll release each post separately.

Thanks for hanging around & reading my words 😘