A Walk in Her Shoes Feeds a Village

We love doing good, don’t you? We knew you’d say yes! We knew that because our readers are the kindest and sweetest. It’s true. Pat yourself on the back.

We know you like to give back, especially when it’s super easy to give. And we especially love when our training miles count for something. That’s where this fantastic charity event comes in. It’s called the Walk in Her Shoes Challenge, and its goal is to bring awareness to the struggle women and girls face in some of the world’s poorest communities. The Challenge’s goal is to bring equal opportunity and human dignity to women and girls in developing countries. Here’s a quick video to learn more.

One of my Skirt Sport Sisters started a team called the Sole Sisters, and we’d love to have you join us. It’s free, and you don’t have to donate or raise funds if you don’t want to, but your walking and running miles are valuable and count toward the Challenge. You can join our team here. We have already raised enough to build a well for clean drinking water! What I love about this Challenge is that it helps women and girls get access to necessities like clean water, good hygiene and basic medical care so that they can spend more time in school and earning a living than gathering food and water. It’s an empowering program that helps enrich communities around the world.  If you’re so inspired, you can donate to our team by clicking on the graphic below.

I hope to call you teammate soon! Do good, feel good, always, Scooters.

What are your favorite charity events? Have you ever participated in a virtual fundraising event before? Tell me all about it!

Make Your Future, Danny

At the beginning of 2015, I heard about the concept of a vision board, and I immediately loved the idea of visually framing your goals for the year in an inspirational and motivating artsy poster type thingy. I like visuals. And colors. And art. So I made one, and I loved it.

Throughout the year, I pulled it out and checked things off. I referred back to it as I set race goals and accomplished other milestones. It made me feel good and helped stay me on track! I was loving it! At first, I was feelin’ like

Early on I knew I’d not be able to accomplish it all. I’d set too many goals for myself and I ended up feeling like a bit of an overwhelmed failure as a result. I have history with this.

NOT THIS TIME, YO. This year, I kept it simple. Flow-y. Stress-free. And colorful, of course. Most people make a collage using magazine clippings and poster board, but because I’m lazy, easily annoyed by glue, and sans magazines in my house, I always draw my board. Meh, it works for me.

 

This idea isn’t new, it was only new to me because I’m not hip. Soooo, I won’t go into the details about how to make a vision board because you probably already know all about it. In case, though, this great blog post by Vanessa R Williams will tell you how to make the best vision board ever!

What I want to tell you is that I think it’s worth your time to do this exercise. Especially if you have a big year ahead full of lots of goals or milestones. A few pro-tips though. One, make sure to include stuff that renews your body, mind, and spirit on there. Don’t forget to refill your cup. Two, be realistic about what you can do. Be fierce, but gentle with yourself. Most of all, make YOUR 2017 happen!

If you made/make a vision board for this year, I’d love to see it! Tweet me your photo. @scootadoot

Save

Finding Gratitude in a Noisy Crowd

Last week, I experienced an almost spiritual moment of gratitude. I was at a concert, a Tool concert to be specific. As I stood in the 12th row, my hair literally blowing from the sound waves (maybe I should have worn earplugs?), I was overtaken by sadness when I thought about my late grandma.

Yes, my grandma. At a Tool show. I know it’s strange, but stay with me here.

I realized how much she would have loved it, and how I wish I had taken her to a rock concert before she passed away in 2003. I imagined her throaty giggle as the sound waves vibrated in her chest. Her eyes full of excitement from the drummer’s insane solo as it ricochets around the arena. I could easily imagine this experience moving her to tears.

My grandma was deaf. She had scarlet fever as an infant and it stole her hearing. She grew up in the WWII era, and was sent to a deaf school. Her parents and siblings did not learn sign language. As was common at that time, deafness was associated with a lack of intelligence, and deaf folks were relegated to low-wage jobs and sub-standard education. She grew up, married a deaf man, and they had four hearing children. They refused to teach any of the children sign language for fear the kids would have the same stigma attached to them.

Grandma Beverly

Grandma Beverly

My mother was one of those four, and she and I learned to sign when I was eight. Grandma gave me a Sesame Street signing book, and she was so thrilled when I was able to tell her what I was learning about in school. I’d show her my favorite signs over and over, like dreamturtle, and grandma, but she never tired of it.  Although I was (and still am) a horrible speller, she pretended to understand what I finger-spelled to her. She had the most amazing laugh, because it was complete abandon every time. Guttural, loud, and full of life. She didn’t know about “indoor voices”. Just recalling the sound of it makes me laugh thirteen years after I heard it last.

My favorite memory of her is when I took her to a doctor appointment, and blasted Snoop Dogg from the stereo as we drove. I look over, and there is my grandma, bobbing her head and tapping her foot to the bass vibration in the car. She asked me what kind of music it was and when I told her, I was rewarded with her best laugh ever.

Not long before she passed, she got new hearing aides. We gathered at my mom’s house to fill out and send my wedding invitations. My mom messed up on one of the envelopes, so she crumpled it up in a ball and tossed it aside. Grandma’s eyes got huge!

“What was that noise?” She signed.

“It was the envelope,” I told her and replicated the crumple action.

“Paper makes noise?!?” She asked, totally astounded.  She’d heard the crumple sound for the first time.

Imagine that. Imagine not knowing that virtually everything makes some sort of noise. Imagine how wondrous each sound would be as you discovered it for the first time at the age of 63. Then she heard my mother’s (her daughter’s) laugh for the first time and she cried.

That’s why I know she would have loved the Tool show. She’d have loved the vibration of the music, the feeling of a sold out crowd united by what they are hearing. She didn’t get to experience music, or her childrens’ laughter, or the sound of thunder or ocean waves.

pepsicenter

Everyone was jealous of our seats

So when I was at the Tool show, being bombarded with amazing guitar riffs, the gratitude hit me. We are so lucky. Fortunate. Blessed. I try really hard not to take experiences for granted. In my opinion, they are the most important thing. Possessions are only things that lose their shine and usefulness over time, but experiences teach you, they broaden you, and they make you more interesting. Plus, they don’t go out of style and they can’t break like things do.

Me and the Mr. #twelfthrowseats

Me and the Mr. #twelfthrow

Have some experiences that push you and scare you a little. Do the things you have passion for. Do ALL the things. Don’t squander the chance to enjoy every moment of life. It’s the simplest experiences that can give us the most happiness. Don’t forget to be present.

That time I wrastled a gator.

That time I wrastled a gator.

 

What are your favorite adventures? What’s on your bucket list? How do you savor you life? Let’s share!

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

My First Coach: A Father’s Day Post

I’ve written before about how a big part of my running inspiration is my mom. She was the marathoner, the mountain climber, the skier and the outdoors woman who brought me along on her adventures so that I would learn an appreciation for the things she loved. She taught me a lot about endurance and finding that  little bit extra deep down to keep going.

My mom played a big role in my development as an athlete, but I didn’t realize most of it until I was an adult.
Dad 1But this post is actually about my dad. Father’s Day is this weekend, and it seemed like a perfect time to reflect on everything he has taught me.

He was my first coach – putting  a basketball in my hands for the first time. Buying me a hoop so I could practice lay-ups and free throws in my driveway. Volunteering to coach every team I played on until I was 12.
FullSizeRender (1)Each high school game I played, I knew where I could find him: sitting in the top row of the bleachers, watching, taking it all in. After the game, he’d have feedback – and even when I was upset with myself or didn’t want to hear his critique, he was patient with me. I always knew he was right, I just didn’t always like admitting it.
dad 3
Before every game, he would give me a tip of the day. Anything from “block out” to “drive the lane” – his one tip was always something I did well to remember as I took the court. For an away tournament, he gave me a note card with tips of the day on it so that I could have his advice with me even when he couldn’t be there to watch.

When I went to play basketball in college, that notecard came with me, and lived in my gym bag. It traveled to every game even though my dad couldn’t. My dad would call or text those tips of the day before each game, too, so that I was never without my first coach.

I still have this notecard... it lives in my desk at work and it's still useful. "Head up" is just good life advice.

I still have this notecard… it lives in my desk at work and it’s still useful. “Head up” is just good life advice.

Playing basketball taught me more lessons than I could enumerate. About leadership, about working as a team, about repetition and working hard and not giving in. All practical on the court, but even more applicable to life. Lessons I wouldn’t have learned as well if my dad hadn’t fostered my growth as an athlete for all those years.

Exhibit A

Exhibit A

His guiding hand has always been there for me, helping me navigate sticky situations, like teaching me how to deal with my 401K. My dad is the king of planning and lists and I absolutely picked that trait up from him, too. He’s goofy (see Exhibit A), he’s funny, he knows more sports trivia than anyone I know. But more importantly, my dad CARES. He cares for his family and for his friends. His heart is big and he goes miles beyond for someone in need. Literal miles. He has traveled halfway across the country on multiple occasions to help family through heavy and trying times. My dad has taught me more about what it means to be a good and kind human being than anyone else, because he lives it. Every day.

I know many people for whom Father’s Day is not a day of celebration – their fathers have been lost to them for some reason or another. On this day, I wish them peace and send them love – I can’t take away the pain or sadness they feel.
image1 (3)
But I’m extraordinarily grateful to be able to celebrate my dad, because I’m extraordinarily grateful that my life has him in it. He is one of the best things about who I am. And he’s still giving me tips of the day.

Tuesdays With Meri

Originally this post was going to be about the #communitybuild I participated in on Saturday, June 11th. It was a heart swelling in the chest moment when I saw everyone coming together for the greater good of our community and our children.

fiberart

And then Sunday morning happened. 

There is a lot of absolutely horrifying, crazy acts of violence and scariness in the world. While I cannot and do not turn a blind eye to it, I also wonder how I’m supposed to approach it. As a mother. As a person putting words on a screen. As a human being living on this planet.

I wonder how to present things to my children in a way that they will both understand and also not fear living and going about their day-to-day activities. Because, quite honestly, I’m scared of the next. And the next. And the next.

When my 11 year old asks me “But we’re safe, right?” how can I respond truthfully without scaring the ever-loving daylights out of him? It’s a very helpless feeling when you don’t know the answers to the questions that your children are asking and when you’re asking yourself the very same questions.

I’m sad. I’m tired. I don’t know how many different ways I can say the same thoughts for similar situations without it sounding formulaic. It’s no less heartfelt but how can the repetitiveness sound anything but that?

With that in mind, I choose to focus on love. And I realize that might sound a bit hippie-ish but it’s what I can do right in this moment to feel like I’m doing something.

Originally this post was going to be about the #communitybuild I participated in. It still is.

It's about the whoopsies that turned into my favorite heart, a watermelon.

It’s about the whoopsies that turned into my favorite heart, a watermelon. Because we are #fiberartists.

It's about spending the majority of a Saturday with a few people who mean the world to me and new people who also mean the world to me.

It’s about spending the majority of a Saturday with a few people who mean the world to me and new people who now also mean the world to me, because we shared this together.

It's about the kids in my community having a brand new playground that has age appropriate equipment.

It’s about the kids in my community having a brand new playground that has age appropriate equipment.

It's about the kids in my community having a playground that isn't vandalized.

It’s about the kids in my community having a playground that isn’t vandalized and the amazing volunteers that made it happen.

This post is about making a community feel safe and having children know that they are loved, cherished, and appreciated for the amazing little people they are.

It’s also about my kiddos. Because when they feel that way both outside and inside the home, it helps them make good choices, now and later on.

When they ask hard questions that I might not know the answer to, they still feel assured and confident that we are doing everything we possibly can to make their lives filled with love.

chalk

It’s about starting each day with a dance party, because despite the scariness and uncertainty in the world, there’s still a lot to dance about.

bethegood-believe

Hug your family and friends and know that I’m hugging you, too.

Momentum Jewelry: #SharetheSPARK and a Giveaway

“I love me some me.”

That’s one of my trainer’s favorite sayings and while I don’t go around saying it all the time, I can certainly relate.

I am my own biggest fan.

I have to be! When I put myself first and take care of my own needs, I’m a more pleasant person to be around. I’m more motivated, happier, and I know that I can accomplish what I set out to do.

Which is why while I am my own biggest fan, I am ALSO the biggest Momentum Jewelry fan!

cheerleader

Oh yes, I love me some Momentum Jewelry and have ever since I received my first Motivation Wrap several years ago.

strongerthanyesterday

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve picked up quite a few more along the way.

collection

livefearlessly

owntoday

I wear these daily – during training runs, sessions with the aforementioned personal trainer, races; any day of the week that ends with -y!

The Motivation Wraps depend in what situation I’m in and what message I need that particular day, while my Foot Note and Necklace are pretty much standard every day wear.

Now while I love me some me, I also love me some YOU. One of the things that is so great about Momentum Jewelry is that while you’re inspiring yourself, you can also inspiring others. These pieces are conversation starters, as well as wonderful gifts to pass along to friends. Just ask my fellow blogger cohorts, they’ve all been privy to my obsession.

Which leads me to the next big thing… their #sharetheSPARK campaign! For the next two months selected Momentum Jewelry Ambassadors will be sharing these brand spanking new designs with people who need a little extra spark.

sharethespark

you got this! and NEVER GIVE UP

I am so looking forward to sharing these with people I think might need a boost and also following along with the hashtag on social media. It’s going to be incredible!

Oh, I did mention a giveaway, didn’t I? I’m going to hang on to the #spreadtheSPARK wraps for now… however, I did a little Momentum shopping recently and picked up these Foot Notes. We are actually in our blogaversary month here at Scoot a Doot and for blogaversaries, you love on the people who love on you!

footnotesgiveaway

SHUT UP LEGS! and YES! you can

One lucky winner will be able to rock these adorable Foot Notes. The giveaway will be running from today until Friday, 2/19 and I’ll be emailing the winner, as well as posting on our Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. If I do not hear back within a 24 hour time frame, a new winner will be chosen.

Good luck! I love me some you!

rafflecoptermomentum

Click the picture to enter via rafflecopter

On Love and Friendship

heartsLately I’ve been having these epiphanies.

Well, maybe not epiphanies. Maybe it’s just remembering things I already knew. Maybe it’s because I have some time to myself while not training alllll the time.

Maybe it’s because in the three years since I picked up and moved  away from home and family and friends, I’ve been forced to think about, really think about, what it means to truly care for someone.

Yes, I’m talking about love.

Not just romantic love, though that is something I think about often, too. Philia. Love for your friends.

Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics describes Philia as “affectionate regard” or “friendship,” which is a simple translation. In his Rhetoric, the definition goes deeper:

“wanting for someone what one thinks good, for his sake and not for one’s own, and being inclined, so far as one can, to do such things for him.”

Aristotle speaks of love as something selfless. Loving someone puts them first. Puts their needs and feelings and experiences first. Loving someone asks that one gives of herself and doesn’t demand for the same in return. Loving someone is giving yourself fully and trusting that love to nourish and enrich both souls.

It isn’t something that should be felt lightly, though too frequently, it is.

Hearing “I love you” from a friend should be something you cherish. It’s a tiny gift that you can carry with you, a light for your heart, a constant reminder that someone, somewhere, has your back. Cares about the state of your heart. Wants to protect it for you. Wants to guard you from hurt and suffering.Will do nearly anything for you to lift you up. To stand beside you and hold your hand when you’re frightened. To celebrate and laugh and cry with you. To remind you of your boundaries and to call you on your shit and to respect your limits. Love should be fearless in this way. It can be fearless because both souls know the other deeply and well. That fearlessness is born out of mutual trust and respect.

“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” – Jane Austen

To truly love a someone is to give yourself to it wholly. To put your friend before yourself. To take ownership in that relationship and to recognize that your words and actions always have an effect. What you do and say carry weight. Think about your dialogue. Be respectful of your friend’s truth.

Maintaining the old, far-away friendships takes work and I’m fortunate to have bonds with people that can withstand years and miles. Forging new relationships, though, has taught me how to value people and their stories in a way I’d never considered before.

For a long time, friendship was easy for me. School was a social situation I was comfortable with. My peers and I had plenty in common and those experiences brought us together. Moving halfway across the country to a city where I knew nearly no one changed the landscape altogether. I struggled, for a long time, to connect with people here and that was not something that I was comfortable with, or comfortable admitting. It was lonely and I let myself live inside that loneliness for a long time.

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your hear. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.” – Louise Erdrich

It took a while to find a way out of that lonely place – it was unfamiliar and I didn’t like it, but it had a way of keeping me there – but when I did, I found what I had been missing. New friendships, found almost by accident, but since nourished by a depth of mutual respect and care that I am overwhelmed by the affection that I have for them.

They give me more than I realized I wanted and fill my heart to overflowing. They teach me what it means to be brave and strong and genuine and kind. They are beautiful souls who have come through fire to light one in me. I didn’t realize how much I needed them until I found them and now? Now I gladly give of myself to repay that respect and generosity of spirit.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anais Nin

Friendship, much like romantic love, is not without risk and it can hurt, deeply, when those bonds of love are disrespected or broken. But what is living without taking a risk? You will be forever changed by that person and what they can teach you.

“Hearts are breakable and I think even when you heal, you’re never what you were before.” – Cassandra Clare

You have the choice. Let others in, let them teach you and put them before yourself, or live in that dark place, alone, with nothing to keep you company but selfish pity. Let yourself be changed by the good in others and the love that you feel will be genuine. That is true friendship. And it is beautiful.