This weekend I attended the memorial service, well, it really was a celebration of life, for my friend Niki. A group of her local DC friends gathered in a church basement behind the Nation’s Capital to connect and share the joy that was Niki Mitchell.
Niki was a writer, a published author, The New Color of Success: Twenty Young Black Millionaires Tell You how They’re Making it, and a masterful PR executive with a wicked sense of humor, wit and passion. It was clear if you knew her and if you didn’t, all you had to do was be in this room this weekend. Her friends and family are a collection of amazing, talented, funny people.
The celebration of her life was full of stories told by the people who knew her best – the ones she loved, she worked with and shared with. We laughed a lot during the afternoon as we remembered her. We cried about the void her unexpected passing has left. We comforted one another as we said goodbye. She will never be forgotten by anyone who had the pleasure of knowing her.
Her childhood friend, who literally knew Niki her whole life, shared all the phases of Niki’s life – childhood, young student, writer, wife, mother. One thing she did share was a few weeks before Niki’s unexpected passing, they spoke about taking better care of themselves. She said she had noticed that Niki was not taking care of herself. She was so busy taking care of everyone else around her – she was neglecting her own wellness. It’s a reminder to us all – take care of yourself first -mentally and physically- so you can take care of others around you.
Closing out the celebration, her business partner spoke about ways you can tell you lived a good life. Niki checked all the boxes and even though she left too soon, her life made a difference. His words reminded me of a favorite quote: “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
On the drive home, Scotty and I talked about how this type of remembrance is how we would want to celebrated. I want a celebration of my life that included laughing, eating good food and as I shared with Scotty, dancing! Everyone will need to bust a move in my memory! I want people to say their goodbyes in the spirit of who I am.
The rest of the weekend, I was mindful, evaluating where I am, where I want to be and who I am around. Life is too short to be around people who suck the happiness out of you. It’s cliche but true — life is way too short to waste time with fools and to worry about stupid little things that at the end of day, don’t matter.
When Scotty and I first moved to Northern VA, my new boss, Daryl and his wife, Niki, were one of the first people who befriended us. That was almost twenty years ago. They moved away recently and although we didn’t talk regularly, when we did – it was just like old times. Yesterday, Niki died unexpectedly.
Niki was a loved and loving wife, mother and friend. Professionally, she was a journalist whose articles have appeared in the Washington Post, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times. She was part of a reporting at the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour that earned the prestigious Peabody Award. She ran her own media relations firm.
My heart breaks for my dear friend Daryl and his daughter. Another reminder of how precious and short life is. There is no time to waste….
The truth is you don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. Life is a crazy ride, and nothing is guaranteed.-Eminem
I have so much to share but with my new job keeping me beyond busy, so little time to share it…
Here are some of the amazing pictures taken by Scotty at this past weekend’s New York Comic Con….
I found out a former co-worker of mine took his life two weeks ago. I can’t get him out of mind. While I didn’t know him all that well, he appeared to be a happy, successful man and showed no signs of what was to come. I have come to find out that he was having marital and family problems that must have weighed heavily on his mind. Still, nothing is bad enough to end it all. I can’t even imagine getting to that point where you no longer want to exist. I have been sad, and down – who hasn’t, but never have I considered ending my life to solve it.
I can only imagine the pain he must have been in and the despair he was feeling. I hope he has found peace now and my thoughts are with his wife, kids and family as they try to understand what happened and learn to live a new normal..
This month is National Suicide Prevention Month and to remember my former co-worker, Amrik, here is some information and resources:
When it comes to suicide prevention, EveryDay Matters. In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day and Suicide Prevention Month, we thank those that work in a community and take action every day.
- The Trevor Project: 1.866.488.7386
a 24-hour free and confidential crisis and suicide prevention helpline specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or questioning youth.
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
A friend sent this article to me today: What Happens When You Follow Your Passion and it got me thinking more about how to do that… I’ve been struggling with finding a path to explore what I am passionate about. It’s frustrating for sure but as quotes say – sometimes the hardest part of any journey is right before a breakthrough…
Jury Duty Fun
Yesterday, I had a busy day. First, I had my turn at serving jury duty. After a few hours of sitting there and the selection process, I was dismissed as a juror for a criminal trial. I’ve never been in a court room, let alone seen how it all goes down. Just like on TV, it was pretty slow, stuffy, rigid and old fashioned. I couldn’t help but notice that everything in the court room was wood and rigid. Sitting there for an hour or so was not what I would consider comfortable.
During the selection process, the judge, prosecutor and defense attorney each took their turn asking generally benign questions. It’s so interesting to see how it all goes down and how people filter questions differently. But man it goes slow and seems to be very low tech. Anyway, I was dismissed for whatever reason and now I can say”been there, done that’ (until the next time…)
Later in the evening, I met up with my dear friend Mastaneh and we drove to [SolidCore]. You may remember me sharing my experience doing a class last March, when we hit up the one in Ballston.
What is [solidcore]?
Someone online described it as “Pilates on Steroids”. Ive never done Pilates, but I can tell you it was the kind of workout where I literally hated it while doing it but when it was over – i felt great and wanted to do it again to challenge myself to get the hang of it. You use a megaformer machine for the 50 minute class. It’s all slow, controlled movements focusing on core muscles. The classes are kept small so the instructor can give everyone the attention needed. Depending on the movement, you would do a 4-6 count to ensure you are really working the muscle.
This one just opened in the Mosaic District in Fairfax and we brought along some extra pals. Let’s just say that it was as hard as I remember and I was not the only one of that opinion. Even my boxing instructor, Alex, who joined us agreed.
When we were done, it was like a sweat festival. Not only was I drenched with sweat, my muscles were twitching for some time afterwards. I am definitely feeling the results of all that slow, deliberate core stuff today. Amd after the class, the instructor told us how great we were, especially because we were beginners and it was because of how strong we all were.
Thoughts about [solidcore]
I wish that [Solidcore] was closer and/or in Loudoun County. Right now they are focused on the immediate DC area. I’m sure the demographic is good there but Loudoun County is the richest county in the country so that should count for something.
I’m not usually one to balk at certain things cost wise. I believe that for me – my health and fitness is worth paying for if it works. I could pay 20 bucks a month at a regular gym but I know it’s not going to work long term for me. I need to workout with others and have an instructor lead the way. I’m willing to pay a bit more for it because it works. A lot of folks pay that low monthly membership at their gym but rarely go or go and do the same thing all the time – seeing little to any results. That is a waste of money no matter how cheap.
[solidcore] is pretty expensive even to me- up to $34/class although they are running specials. The classes are limited because everyone works on a reformer machine, so I get why they charge more but it still seems a bit more than I would be willing to pay on a regular basis.
The instructor was great and it was a great workout. Very different than the other stuff I do but different in a great way. I would definitely add a class or two into my regular overall monthly training if it were closer. It’s easy to see how strong, limber and flexible you can become by doing it regularly.
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Stories of kindness and bravery are the stories we should be sharing and talking about more…
Dubbed the “British Schindler,” Winton helped 669 Jewish children avoid a grim fate by smuggling them out of Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia.
I hit up a boxing class last night and then headed to Ashburn CrossFit this morning to workout with a dear friend I havent seen in over five years. I have written about Lidia previously and what an inspiration and kickass chick she is. It’s one of the greatest things about finding my fitness passion – meeting and bonding with the most amazing people. Many of them have become very dear to me and even though I don’t see them regularly, they continue to inspire me and motivate me to be better than I was yesterday. I mean – come on now, these are strong, bad ass chicks. If I let myself go to pot after all this time – I think they would kick my ass. Not only are they amazing people – they help keep me accountable. It’s a win that keeps on giving…
As you probably know, I don’t do CrossFit regularly anymore. The change was brought on partially by burn out. I was not getting the joy or seeing the results I used to from CrossFit. I also felt that my body wasn’t recovering like it used to which was causing me to not have as much fun while I was there. My shoulders weren’t healing either because of the constant stress on them. It’s only been since I stopped completely, have I regained range of motion in my right shoulder.
It is nice to revisit CrossFit every now and again and today it was quite a workout – a chipper.
In CrossFit, a chipper is usually a combo of 5 to 10 exercises designed to push metabolic conditioning. This morning’s chipper looked like this…
- 50 Wall Balls (20/14)
- 40 Push Ups
- 30 Medball Cleans (20/14)
- 20 Burpees
- 10 Pull Ups
- 20 Burpees
- 30 Medball Cleans
- 40 Push Ups
- 50 Wall Balls
(20 min cap)
I chose to do it with a 10# med ball and finished at 19:37. Yeah, Ouch. I am now at work and the soreness is creeping in. It hurts just to walk. I don’t know why, but it always surprises me at how sore I get when I switch up workouts even though I workout all the time!
I have to admit it was a great way to start my day. A group of strong ladies, a lot of laughs and creating a sweat festival.
- Parents’ Denial Fuels Childhood Obesity Epidemic
- ‘Fitness’ foods may cause consumers to eat more, exercise less
- America’s getting even fatter: Startling growth in obesity over past 20 years
As a final sign off on today’s post – I want to wish my smart, sassy and super adorable niece Amelia a Happy Birthday. I wish I lived closer so I could be in her life more, but here I am living in ‘Grassyland’ (that’s what she calls Virginia bc we have a lot of grass and San Fran does not).
I love her to the moon and back…
“We read to know we’re not alone.” ― William Nicholson, Shadowlands
This quote, by William Nicholson, in the movie Shadowlands, is one of my all time favorites and I turn to it for perspective often. Shadowlands, a 1993 movie based on the life and love of C.S. Lewis’s life, is a film I have watched dozens of times throughout the years and each time, it hits me deep. When the young man in the film tells CS Lewis why he reads so much –we read to know we’re not alone, it said volumes.
It’s a simple but true thought for just about everyone. The need to know we aren’t alone. There is no discounting the importance and power in knowing that there is someone else out there, in this vast world, who thinks, feels, or has experienced what we are going through. It has the power to offer comfort, give us strength, calm our anxiety, and motivate and inspire us to change. Sometimes, it’s the one thing that pulls us through a rough time.
Sharing our mistakes, flaws, wounds is hard no matter who you are. The bravery required to open up, be honest, and show your vulnerabilities is one of the hardest things for any of us to. Imagine then putting pen to paper and sharing these experiences beyond your closest trusted circle. It’s not a small thing…
The ability to let down our defenses and share what really happens behind the social media filters is important. No one lives a trouble free life. We all have hardships and successes. We all have flaws and things we love about ourselves. Life is about learning to live your best life in the peaks AND in the valleys and inviting people who make you smile, lift you up, and push you to be better along for the ride.
“The Real Face of Depression” to bring awareness to the world that depressed people aren’t just those in the corner crying and pulling their hair out like you see in most depictions, although sometimes we may feel that way. Depressed people are everyday people – they are your co-worker, they are your friend, your neighbor, and in my case, a fitness coach. We look happy on the outside, we have big smiles in our pictures that come up on Facebook, we are the new moms smiling and playing with precious little babies, we are top CrossFit athletes at The Games…”
“The most successful and happiest people I’ve known understand that a good life, at its core, is about being personal. It’s about being engaged. It’s about being there for a friend or a colleague when they’re injured or in an accident,” Biden told the Yale crowd, adding: “It all seems to get down to being personal. That’s the stuff that fosters relationships. It’s the only way to breed trust.”
Sunday was the 10th Annual Scope it Out 5K. It was my fifth year running to celebrate my husband being colon cancer free! Seems so long ago now that he was recovering from surgery and chemo. Every year, I run this race as a reminder of how far we have come from those days and to continue to do my part spreading the word about how important it is for anyone with symptoms or at risk for colon cancer get screened. Remember: the treatment for colon cancer is a lot worse than any colonoscopy!!
Both my kiddos ran this year’s race too! Last year’s 2014 Scope it Out 5K, HB joined us and this year Nate Dogg committed and rocked it! I could not have been more proud of both of them! Apparently, Nate loves to talk while he runs and expects a two way conversation, so Scotty had the pleasure of counting cop cars, crowds of people and anything else Nate Dogg wanted to mention during the 3+ miles. Good times!
I still regularly visit blogs created by others battling colon cancer. When I got back from the race, I decided to visit a blog by a young women in Arizona: Michelle Whitehead Hastings. She had not been updating regularly because the cancer came back and she was undergoing some painful treatments. I wondered how she was doing and was shocked to learn she passed away late last month. Michelle was a women, wife, mother, daughter – a bright shining person, who tried to give back as she navigated her own treatment. I took a moment last night to say a prayer for her and her family. And although I didn’t know the news at the time – I ran the race in her honor. RIP Michelle.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my time was better this year than 2014 and 2013! Keep in mind that I am not a runner. I had not run since this fall and even then it was no more than sprints. While there is nothing amazing about my pace in the general sense, I am quite pleased with it. And I came in the top 17% overall. Not too shabby!
- 2015: 9:36
- 2014: 10:13
- 2013: 9:55
- 2012: 9:03
- 2011: 9:29
- The Myth of High-Protein Diets
- The Skinny on ‘Hidden Fat’: Why Being Thin Is Not Equal to Being Healthy
- The Joy of Quiet
2015 Scope it Out 5K Event Photos
There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything I want done lately. I had almost a year ‘off’ from the corporate life, which meant that I could take care of things on the regular. Now that I am back working full time, in an office, it has been challenging to adjust what needs to get done. And I have been finding it hard to spark up the energy to do some of the ‘other’ things – like write. But I am not a quitter, and I know that the spark with reignite if I keep at it.
As I am trying to juggle all of the things in my life, I keep asking myself When is it good enough?
When Scotty got sick, I gave up the idea of an organized, super clean house. It just wasn’t possible and that has stuck years later. There is always a basket of laundry needing to get done and one needing to be folded in my house. There will always be stuff on my kitchen counters. I realized that my house has four different people living in it – and I can’t keep up. It just isn’t that important in the grand scheme of my life. And my house is clean enough…
The other day I was looking at some old pics, before I started working out. I noticed how different how much stronger and better I look now comparatively. But yet, I find myself thinking I’m not good enough. My fitness level is not where it should be, my body doesn’t look like I think it should. In all fairness, I own that I have slacked off being 80% Paleo. I am more 60% now –and I can see the differences and it’s been gnawing at me. I am aware that I am my own harshest critic. I am also not the kind of person to sit back and wallow. I need to be challenged and seek out opportunities to learn, so I will never be able to just settle. But – will there ever come a time when I will be able to acknowledge how far I have come?
Which makes seeing untouched pics of ‘famous’ people re-affirming…
- What does Cindy Crawford think of that unretouched lingerie photo making the rounds?
- Beyonce fans’ fury after leaked pictures of her L’Oreal advert claim to show how she looked before she got the Photoshop treatment
- How To Love & Accept Your Body Unconditionally
- 5 Reasons To Do Planks Every Day
- WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR BRAINS WHEN WE EXERCISE AND HOW IT MAKES US HAPPIER
- WHY YOU SHOULD GIVE A CRAP ABOUT CALORIES
“Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” Dalai Lama
- Tues: Boxing: 1 Hour
- Weds: CrossFit: 1 Hour
Today is another opportunity to make a difference. Even if it’s in some small way. The smallest act of kindness can make a huge change in someone’s life. Have you ever visited the Humans of New York website? I love seeing the posts every day. It’s a reminder that every one has an important and impactful story. We are all human, going through this thing called life…
Look around the web and you will find a ton of stories of kindness and changing someone’s life. Here are two recent ones about crowd-sourcing kindness:
- Detroit Man Who Walks 21 Miles To, From Work Receives New Car
- Teen’s Humans of New York Story Inspires President Obama
Approaching your daily life from a place of good intentions and kindness is a skill that needs to be practiced. It’s something you have to be aware of which reminded me of a recent post I read that asked if you were aware of your breath?
Having control of your breath can help decrease stress, connect you to your life purpose, and help you be present in the moment. My mantra bracelet says “be here now’ – which I wear to remind me to be present and learn to enjoy what’s happening at that moment. I tend to be a rusher –wanting to head into the next experience or moment before the first one is even done. I have been working on slowing down and learning to flourish in the experience – not just wait for the experience to be over. All of that is wrapped up in fear because I am not being comfortable with instability. But, you know what? I am finding that instability can actually inspire and motivate me to greater things!
- Saturday: Boxing
- Sunday: Boxing