Monthly Archives

September 2015

Mindfulness, Pages

10% Happier ain’t too bad

September 30, 2015

I just finished 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story by Dan Harris, and it was a game changer. Like the majority of people seeking calm and clarity, meditation is certainly on my radar. I even tried to do it for 30 days straight, remember? While my initial attempt was a weak, failed effort for sure, this book rekindled my respect for the practice.


I love the fact that Dan comes at the topic from a hater’s perspective. He isn’t a Buddhist or a zen master. He’s actually a bit of a self-absorbed prick. As a popular newscaster, he ends up covering a series of intense stories, which had a more severe impact than he realized and led to an infamous panic attack during a live news broadcast.

What followed, over the course of several years, was his pursuit of a little bit of peace, patience and control. He was trying to be less of a prick. The prescription that seemed to deliver – much to his shock – was meditation. Following the progression of his practice and facts from the perspectives of some of the most recognizable figures in that sphere was fascinating. Along with mindful pauses, the idea is to stop living for fruitless, empty endeavors, and be in the beauty and absoluteness of the present. I’m so guilty of this: I wake up at 5:40 so I can shower, so I can get the girls ready, so I can get JoJo on the bus, so I can  pull analytics before the 8:30 meeting, so I can write the article, so I can get lunch in time for the next meeting, so I can … It’s a hamster wheel that leads to exhaustion and frustration, with no satisfied conclusion or feelings of attainable joy. The people turn into a blur in your peripheral rather than the beautiful objects of purpose they are. This book is a convincing proposal for a more intentional life.

But by the last chapter, Dan, while undoubtedly a devoted champion for the practice, doesn’t make any unreasonable claims. Meditation isn’t a magic pill or fountain of youth. It does, however, make him about 10% happier, he decides. But think about what the world would be like if everyone was just 10% happier. Seems like it’s worth a closer look.

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Here are some of my favorite quotes, but don’t cheat yourself. Read the whole thing:

“But it was in this moment, lying in bed late at night, that I first realized that the voice in my head—the running commentary that had dominated my field of consciousness since I could remember—was kind of an asshole.”

“Make the present moment your friend rather than your enemy. Because many people live habitually as if the present moment were an obstacle that they need to overcome in order to get to the next moment. And imagine living your whole life like that, where always this moment is never quite right, not good enough because you need to get to the next one. That is continuous stress.”

“If you stay in the moment, you’ll have what is called spontaneous right action, which is intuitive, which is creative, which is visionary, which eavesdrops on the mind of the universe.”

“Striving is fine, as long as it’s tempered by the realization that, in an entropic universe, the final outcome is out of your control. If you don’t waste your energy on variables you cannot influence, you can focus much more effectively on those you can. When you are wisely ambitious, you do everything you can to succeed, but you are not attached to the outcome—so that if you fail, you will be maximally resilient, able to get up, dust yourself off, and get back in the fray. That, to use a loaded term, is enlightened self-interest.”

“The ego is never satisfied. No matter how much stuff we buy, no matter how many arguments we win or delicious meals we consume, the ego never feels complete.”

“What mindfulness does is create some space in your head so you can, as the Buddhists say, ‘respond’ rather than simply ‘react.’ In the Buddhist view, you can’t control what comes up in your head; it all arises out of a mysterious void. We spend a lot of time judging ourselves harshly for feelings that we had no role in summoning. The only thing you can control is how you handle it.”

“Marturano recommended something radical: do only one thing at a time. When you’re on the phone, be on the phone. When you’re in a meeting, be there. Set aside an hour to check your email, and then shut off your computer monitor and focus on the task at hand. Another tip: take short mindfulness breaks throughout the day. She called them ‘purposeful pauses.’ So, for example, instead of fidgeting or tapping your fingers while your computer boots up, try to watch your breath for a few minutes. When driving, turn off the radio and feel your hands on the wheel. Or when walking between meetings, leave your phone in your pocket and just notice the sensations of your legs moving. ‘If I’m a corporate samurai,’ I said, ‘I’d be a little worried about taking all these pauses that you recommend because I’d be thinking, ‘Well, my rivals aren’t pausing. They’re working all the time.’’ ‘Yeah, but that assumes that those pauses aren’t helping you. Those pauses are the ways to make you a more clear thinker and for you to be more focused on what’s important.”

“The ego is never satisfied. No matter how much stuff we buy, no matter how many arguments we win or delicious meals we consume, the ego never feels complete.” (2)

“Everything in the world is ultimately unsatisfying and unreliable because it won’t last.”

“May you be happy. May you be safe and protected from harm. May you be healthy and strong. May you live with ease.”



Tune in Today

Run this for me

September 28, 2015

Update: Tune in today to see if she can … run her first half marathon.

The short of it is, I finished the race. I ran 13.1 miles with thousands of my closest strangers. The long of it is, it was probably the hardest physical feat I’ve ever accomplished in my life. Tougher than child birth, you ask? Oh, 100 percent. See, with labor, once that little human is in the chute, you can’t just opt out of the process. With running a race, you have to will yourself to keep going, knowing with every step that you could technically just step to the sidewalk, ask an onlooker for a ride to the nearest bar and call it a day. I mean, you really could. They’re just standing there. Not that I considered it or anything …

I woke up early, around 6, and had a super-safe piece of whole wheat toast with almond butter and honey. I did some quick yoga, changed and drove south to Britni’s house so her husband could drop us off. I walked in to find Libby, a dear, sweet friend and former coworker, standing in Britni’s kitchen. I knew she was driving up from Indy, but wasn’t expecting to see her before the race. That was the first time I cried on race day.

I’m not sure what it is about getting up early and standing around with a thousand recently hatched, abnormally fast-fluttering butterflies in your stomach that makes you have to pee so much, but porta-pots were all I could think about before we started. We found my girl Jill (who I also trained with) and she also seemed severely nervous, which made me feel better about my churning stomach. She’d been here before, more than a couple times. We opted to leave Jill and her friend Cassie in Corral F and go find “our people” in one a little further – and slower – down the line. Boom! The cannon fired a shot through the crisp, softly lit sky and the crowd started to shuffle and trot toward the start line. This was really happening.


The first 4 miles were uneventful. The weather was glorious for a run, the other folks at our pace were pleasant and we just kept our rhythm and moved along. Our first surprise came around mile 6. Hank’s mom and sister, Natalie, were there with her adorable little family. She had sent a package with an exciting assortment of running snacks and said she wouldn’t be able to make it. But it turns out, they made the 2 hour drive just for the occasion only to turn around and drive back. Again, the tears.


Somewhere around mile 8 we saw our road crew: Britni’s husband and mom, Libby and another dear friend and former coworker, Ashley. Libby, a wispy blonde bottle of spirit and support and a runner herself, ran along with us for a bit in her cute little flats to take our vitals. “How are you feeling? What have you eaten? You look great! Great pace!” We parted and Britni admitted she was about 5 strides from peeing her pants, just in time for a porta-pot. We took a pitstop, drank some Gatorade and ate some magic jelly beans. This is where things took a turn.

As soon as we started back up, I could hear that familiar constriction in Britni’s chest. Her eyes got a little wide. We’d been here before … the wheezing breath, the drainage, the cough. Her upper respiratory infection had given her a reprieve for almost 9 miles, but now, here it was, in spite of her double dose of Sudafed that made her, admittedly, just a little geeked up. I would liken that mile after her chest tightened up to the first hour of a baby giraffe’s life. She would try to jog, only to have her body refuse. We’ll call it 4 or 5 times she tried to just push through. Way more than I would have. Between labored intakes she said, “I need you to leave and go run this. Run it for me.” It was, without a doubt, our Saving Private Ryan moment. It was dramatic and emotional and so out of character for the two of us it just makes it all the better. So, somewhere just before mile 10, two became one.

I saw Libby and the crew shortly after we split and probably a bit over-excitedly instructed her husband to take her inhaler back to her. In retrospect, I might have induced a bit more panic in regard to her condition than what was necessary. My emotions were just so heightened and I felt so awful for her, and, to be honest, awful for me and the wheels just seemed to be falling off the wagon. This isn’t how I saw this thing ending. Libby came running up beside me. “You OK? It’s going to be OK. It’s just a 5k now. She was scared she’d hold you back. She knew this might happen. You got this. OK? You got this.” This was the third time I cried.

Now, it was just me, a sore knee (I tweaked in when I turned back to point to the corner where I’d abandoned Britni) and 3.1 long ass miles. This is where the mental aspect of this sport fascinates me. I started by telling myself, “OK, Courtney, act like you’re just starting now. You have fresh legs and you’re just out for a short 3 mile training run. You can do this. You can do this.” But with no music or sidekick and dwindling energy, my body was entering into negotiations with my brain. My legs put quitting on the table for consideration. My mind considered it. My lungs countered with walking for a bit, just to get through. My mind considered it. It was a game of table tennis that went on for the entirety of my time alone. In the end, my mind took guardianship over my body, ruling it too weak and therefore temporarily insane, and thus, deemed its plea bargains inadmissible.

I came down the final street before you enter into the baseball stadium and round to home plate for the epic finish. I had fumes left in the gas tank, but fumes are all you need at the point, I suppose. I looked up as I came into the out field and saw Spike and Hank. I heard the girls’ sweet little voices yelling, “Go, Mama!” I cried for a fourth time. I heard Jill and her family willing me on to the end. And then it was over. I had done it. Jill had come in under 2 hours, I clocked in at 2:28 and Britni was a mere 10 minutes behind me.


As my group of girlfriends, some I hadn’t trained with at all (mainly because they are stupid fast) and some I had a bit, came together with salt crystallizing on our faces and offensive odors and the biggest smiles you could imagine, I felt consumed by joy. I think that’s part of how running gets ya. It’s an individual sport where, really, all of the contestants just want to see you finish. For those toward the front of the pack, there’s more of a competition to it, sure, but for the vast majority, it’s a competition against yourself and everyone on the road with you is fighting the same battle and rooting for everyone in front of and behind them. The camaraderie is like a drug.


You realize, too, that everyone has a story. I was matched stride for stride by a gentleman in his late 70s on those last 2 miles. The only difference was he was man enough to take a beer shot, when I couldn’t even begin to stomach it. “If I puke, I’ll know what I did!” he chuckled as we shuffled on. I saw a young man with his military pack and boots, a firefighter in his gear, and spoke with a woman who told me she dedicates every mile she logs to a young woman, who was a stranger to her just a year ago, who is battling a terminal disease.

Today, I took the girls for a walk around the loop behind our house. It’s just under .5 mile. I can’t help but think of how I started out, last spring, begging my body to make it around that loop twice without having to stop. That was just about 5 months ago. I’m going to say the thing you’re not supposed to say here, but I am so gosh dang, holy crap, unbelievably proud of myself. In a life where it’s easiest to be self deprecating and always want more from yourself, for once I am insanely impressed with and proud of myself for putting in the hours and the pain and seeing this bucket list item of mine all the way through to the finish line. I ran 13.1 miles. The strength of the mind’s will to prevail and the body’s ability to follow is amazing.

I’m thankful to every stranger who stood along that course and cheered me on. Unbelievably grateful to the family and friends who made a special trip on their Saturday morning just to see me accomplish this goal. It didn’t have to mean anything to anyone else but me, but it did and that fills my heart with gratitude and humility in a capacity I’ve never known. I’m thankful to my brother, who not only ran 7.5 miles with me in the dark with very little warning, but also helped with my kids so I could keep training while Hank was out of town. I’m thankful to Jill and Britni for the companionship, encouragement, inspiration and friendship every step of the way, even if that meant asking each other repeatedly whose stupid idea this was to begin with. But most of all, I’m immensely grateful for my husband who had to make sacrifices these past 3 months and stand aside while I continued to complain about self-inflicted pain, exhaustion and fear. He never made me feel guilty or like I was a bad mother for chasing this dream down for myself.


Before we left the stadium after the race, Spike said, “Mama, did you win?”
“I sure did,” I said. “You want to wear my medal?”
“Mama, I’m so proud of you.”
“Thank you, baby. That means the world to me.”


And I realized how much she’d been watching and the weight of that responsibility. It was one more shot of validation and, at least for the day, I did feel like Superwoman. At least to her.

Until next time …

Spike Speak

The latest Spike speak

September 23, 2015

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“Mama, when the song comes on, I’m gonna dance for you. I’m gonna do the Nae Naes and everything!”

“There was a geese and she was indorable and she had three little hunnies.”

Hank: “Lots of things on the Spike front this morning:
1.) She didn’t sleep very good. She didn’t have purple dragon or a pillow to sleep on, nothing!
2.) She can’t go to Kay’s today because she has to go to her world for a wedding. Desi’s friend, Adrey (think Audrey w/o the “U”), is a grown up and getting married.
3.) Her world is real.
4.) Kiyango is not actually in her world, He lives in Grammy’s barn.
5.) She has a job for me, I need to sent video games to Desi’s computer.
6.) Every one in the world doesn’t like Desi, only us in our house loves her. And Tria.
7.) For dinner this week, we should have chicken and carrots. And that vegetable with ‘potein’.
8.) She doesn’t have poop on her bottom, but she has poop in her bottom and she needs to get it out. She HAS to get it out.
9.) She was singing this morning about waking up in a strangers bed … I said, ‘Spikey, I hope you never wake up in a stranger’s bed.’ She said, ‘Yeah, cause your hair would get messed up. But what if you had a new pillow?'”

“Aunt Cheri, you know it has no belly, and underwear and … Mom, am I still wearing my zucchini so I can show her?”

“Let it go. Let it go. When I rise like a break a John …”


Tune in Today, Wellness

Tying up my training tales

September 22, 2015
Update: Tune in today to see if she can … train for a half marathon.
Yesterday was beautiful in the midwest. It was one of those Sundays where you can feel summer dancing with fall, and it’s warm enough for short sleeves but smells like burning leaves. It also happened to be our last long training run (let the angels sing).

This journey, while not completely over yet, has gone remarkably fast. Not while I was doing the actual running per se, but in hindsight. I’ve learned a lot about myself, my mind and my body. I’ve learned a little bit about what the human spirit begs for when it’s clinging to exhaustion. I’ve learned that a solid playlist and hidden frozen water bottle at a halfway point can be the difference between thrill and defeat. I’ve learned that I can usually predict, within the first mile of a long run, if the coming hours will be hell or happy. And mostly I’ve learned that this sport is completely unpredictable and really, fantastically freaking hard.

Here is a look back at the best and the worst of my long runs.
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I realize this sounds a little crazy considering the miles we logged, but our 5 mile run was brutal and maybe the hardest of them all. Britni and I worked through a route that ran the perimeter of my neighborhood and then through it. Problem was, it was 89 degrees with no breeze and the roads were black asphalt. I had to walk twice and made an early prediction we would never make it to the actual race.
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Six was fairly uneventful. The sun was blazing by 10 am, so  I ran 4 of it outside alone and then topped ‘er off with 2 miles on the treadmill while I treated myself to Mean Girls. This was also the day I realized I could never train for a half marathon on a treadmill because I obsessed over watching the distance tick by. When it came to machinery, there’d be none for Gretchen Wieners. That was the only training run I did on the treadmill.
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If I could bottle a run and drink it every time I had to tap into some wicked cardio, it would be that 7 mile run. It was a cooler summer evening, we played music out loud and hid waters at our halfway point. Nothing felt like it was breaking or grinding or seizing, and I finally felt like we had this thing on lock. Look how happy we were …
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Every victory we claimed the week before vanished on our 8 mile route. With all the best intentions, Britni mapped out a course on her side of town. Started off great, looping around a pretty private lake. But then, there was something neither of us saw coming: The steepest, longest, most unforgiving beast of a hill I’ve ever encountered on foot. At least when I wasn’t intentionally scaling an epic mountain. It was about 4 miles into the run and was a true spirt breaker. From Everest on, we were quiet, breathy and barely hanging on. That was a long run. Hot and long.
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So, I have this friend, and she’s a very dear friend, but we’ve always given each other a hard time. We’re brutally honest and sarcastic and used to literally wrestle each other (not in a sorority girl pillow fight kind of way, but like a, we once tried to make each other eat cat food by shoving it into each other’s mouths kind of way) after we each downed a bottle of wine watching a full season of Sex and the City. Friendships are complex, man. Anyway, Britni was on vacay and we’d been wanting to run together, so Jill came over to my neck of the woods to knock out 9 miles. It was a run I was dreading and I was, it’s fair to say, a little worked up. I had a route, I had waters, I had a plan. I always have a plan, she was quick to remind me. And she wasn’t feeling the route, a point which she was also very quick to remind me of … and remind me … and remind me … and remind me, until we finally veered off my trail and onto hers. Needless to say, about 2.5 miles in, we had to take a 5-minute break from speaking to each other so we didn’t wrestle on someone’s front lawn. The silent treatment is much more suitable for two grown ass mothers of three. After our brief reprieve, we took care of business and the run turned out pretty great, actually. (She’ll know after she reads this, but I actually run the route I discovered at her unyielding insistence every time I go to that trail now. Damn it, I love it.)
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I hit 9 again the following week just to be sure. Britni was still on vacation and Jill and I hadn’t decided if we liked our running partnership after our first pass at it, so I found myself in a bit of a bind. It was surely going to be dark by the end of my run, so I preferred not to hit it alone. When I signed up for the half, my big brother offered to join me on a long run if I ever needed someone. Well, I needed someone. Matt is a great runner and has done several half marathons, but he hadn’t been training for this one. The big guy held in with me until almost 8 miles, gem that he is. There was no warning to his white flag, really. He just planted his feet, told me he could most likely see me if I got into trouble, and he’d meet me at the car. Thanks, bra.
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Jill and I made up just in time for the 10 mile run. She, of course, didn’t tell me until about an hour before that her bud Cassie would be joining us. Cassie is, of course, a marathon runner who is, of course, much faster than, of course, me. But anything beats pounding 10 miles of pavement by yourself. Around mile 5 I realized I might die. Around mile 8 I started sending up the silent prayers to get through it. Somewhere in the dark of night we crossed an invisible finish line and it felt so dang good to check off a box with double digits on my training schedule. Hell, i still can’t believe i did it.
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With Britni back in the game, we decided to tackle 10 again the following weekend. She mentioned she’d been battling an upper respiratory thing, but was feeling much better. We started at our usual pace; comfortable as a pair of fleece pants and an undershirt. I noticed she was sniffling. Then we stopped a few times so she could blow her nose. Then she stopped talking. Then her face got really red. You guys, I thought I was going to lose her, permanently. Not to be dramatic, but … oh. my. lanta.  My girl did not look good. We split for a bit, but that tough cookie kept at it to clock 9 miles. Not too shabby for a gal in respiratory distress.

Six days, an inhaler and lots of fluids later, we decided to swing for the stars and try an 11 miler before the race. A bright sun cut through the early autumn breeze to make it just warm enough for the face sweat to strike hard. I made the comment shortly in that it didn’t feel like it would be a great run. And it wasn’t. My knees hurt and ole Britni was gasping before we hit the third mile. With her tight lungs and my old stems, we somehow managed to log about 9 miles and that was that. It was a bold attempt. But it wasn’t pretty.

So, here we are. Just 4 days till the big race and we left things frustrated and fragile. At this point, there are a lot of eggs in the adrenaline basket. Let’s hope there’s enough to carry us at least, we’ll call it the last 4 miles.

A few final thoughts on training.
Breakouts! My skin hasn’t been this bad since I was 15.
Sore knees, hips and calves. I feel like an old, retired rodeo clown.
The schedule is such a monster time sucker. It’s like … what do my kids look like again?
I’m so dang hungry. I want to eat all of the things.

I’ve found so many great songs building my playlists. (Best thing about running in the dark of night is I can mouth the words and no one can see me.)

I never felt a runner’s high necessarily, but I do get a sweet endorphin buzz about 30 minutes after I finish a significant run. Hey, it’s free and legal, folks!
The time I’ve gotten with Britni, Jill, my brother and even myself, is such a rare treat for this over scheduled mama. No complaints about the company (except Jill, just that one time).

Until Saturday … 


8 is great, let’s go on a date

September 17, 2015

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Yesterday, Hank and I toasted 8 years of little monkeys, messes and matrimony. Our love story actually started more than 14 years ago, when a cocky college sophomore in a red bandana flirted middle-school style with a recently graduated high school girl in cargo khakis over the course of 15 hands of euchre. He was snarky. I was living in my dreams of college days to come. It was nothing. Until it was. It really, really was something.

Our relationship has always been one saturated in that calm confidence that comes with absolute certainty. I used to tell Hank we were destined to find each other considering we once had the same dream within 24 hours of each other and received jury duty on the same day. The universe wanted us to build this beautiful life, and who are we to argue with the universe? Perfection isn’t really our style, but the imperfections suit us just fine. Do we fight? On occasion. Are we opposites? Um, hell yes. Did I strike the spouse jackpot? You bet your ass.

September 15, 2007, was a sunny, 70-someting-degree day. I remember sitting on a party bus with our bridal party and thinking, I have never been this full of joy. I love these people. I love this man. I love my life. And every year, on this day, we make it a priority to tap back into an, admittedly, milder degree of that euphoria. A lot of life has happened since that day. Wonderful, colorful twists and surprises and, of course, three extraordinary little ladies.

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Our traditions are small. We go to dinner, stop by the church where we got hitched and catch up. I always ask what his favorite moment in our marriage was the year before. This past year, our trip to Vegas and getting Emma so we could go on our camping adventures were his happiest memories. I agreed. But now that this little blog is out in the world, I wanted to take it a step further. So, I went on …

Biggest change for us
“Jobs.” – Hank

Best meal
“Didn’t we have a really fun meal one time? Or are all the meals running together for me? That one where all the kids ate, and they didn’t fuss and … oh, wait, that never happens.”

You feel most supported when I __
“Let me be a stay at home Dad.”

Sweetest moment
“Our terrible selfie on the way to Vegas. We were all snuggled. I still have the picture somewhere. We got to be adults for a day, you know, with your parents.”

Funniest moment
“When we got drunk and rocked out to the Doobie Brothers on a weeknight. Jesus is just alright with me.”

Something you learned about me
“I don’t know what the right word for it is. You’re a … like, I don’t know … persistence … or determination. Cuz damn it, you’re gonna run that half marathon.”

Thing you want us to work on in the coming year
“Ew. I want us to have more fun. Too often it feels like we just coexist with all the crap that goes on.”

In 10 years, we’ll be __
[clasps face] “Raising teenagers!”

Not the best interview I’ve ever done, but the good Lord loves him for his honesty. I answered them, too, of course, and it’s funny how, when you ask the right questions, you discover this unspoken overlap between your treasured moments and hopes, and your spouse’s. What can I say, I think using your anniversary as an excuse to dig a little deeper into the caverns of your partner’s head space is healthy. It sparks conversation and gets some goals out there for the next 365 days.

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After 8 years, I’ve learned that the best marriages are the ones where no one feels smaller or less important than the other person. I’ve learned that laughter only becomes more necessary and is a secret weapon for survival. That acknowledgement and validation are invaluable, and often the most neglected of commodities between people who love each other. I’ve learned the “don’ts”: Don’t tell each other’s secrets. Don’t discourage hobbies or dreams. Don’t make someone sacrifice pieces of their true self. Know when to give your partner space and when to grab on unprompted. And above all, never put conditions on your love. Give it freely and every day.

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Until next year …


Follow the green ribbon

September 15, 2015

I’ve always been a fearful person. I don’t watch scary movies. I don’t go places alone in the dark. I don’t intentionally put myself in any scenario that resembles an opening sequence from SVU. At a very young age, I realized that I would forever be the one who checked to make sure the doors were locked and the garage was closed. I’ve been on a lifelong quest to find what goes bump in the night, much to my parents’ and now husband’s delight.<

If I had to trace my terrors back, there could be one tale that triggered some of it. And, truth be told, I’d forgotten about it until someone mentioned it at work a few months back. Boom! All of my preadolescent anxieties came thundering back. I honestly started sweating.

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I remember it like it was yesterday. We were standing in the bookstore at the mall – back when people went to bookstores and malls – and my mom said each of us could pick out one book. I snatched a small book of stories. I don’t even remember flipping through it. I must have liked the cover.

Once home, I immediately went to my room and started pouring over the pages. And I came to this:

I’m not exaggerating when I say the following: 1) I was so scared that my mom finally tied a string to her finger, ran it down the hallway and tied the other end to my finger so I could tug it if I needed her, and 2) I didn’t watch this video, because I can’t bring myself to do it, so I hope it told the story accurately. I mean … what kind of sick person puts that in a children’s book?

But somehow I’d managed to move on with my life, until it was brought up during a conversation about things that scared the shit out of us as kids. Apparently I was keeping these feelings closer to the surface than I realized.

What’s your Girl with the Green Ribbon?

Running with fire

September 11, 2015



You know those nights when it looks like God let the angels finger paint the sky? I got one of those on my run tonight, and I was so thankful.

“Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.”


Long days and short years

September 10, 2015

I’ll be honest, today I feel very humbled and human. As a family, we find ourselves in the pits of a chaotic, frenzied new routine, that isn’t quite routine yet. JoJo’s in school, which means waiting for the bus and an extra stop at aftercare. Hank started a new job, which has him out the door with the babies by 7:10 and home after 5:30. My job is still fairly new, which means less flexibility. Between the long hours and homework and half marathon training and hormones, our household is in a bit of an upheaval. The hardest part for me is accepting the normalcy of the unbalance.

It’s hard as a woman who desperately wants to be everything for everyone to admit there are times I come up super short. There are times when all the “yeses” come back to slap me across the face. A quick commitment in passing, always ends up meaning stress in the final hours of a too-short day. And all of my promises have the heaviest impact on the girls. These moments – these precious, delicate moments – I’m missing because of a frantic, hamster wheel agenda make me yearn for peace in passing on other people’s pleas. I feel weak in my resolution to prioritize my little people. I feel like life is running me, rather than me running my life. I am twirling in a tornado of tasks and have lost sight of what makes my soul happy.

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But in the midst of this choking fog, God gives us clearings when it counts. Sensing her mama felt flustered and fatigued, my sweet Sloppy Joan started putting on a show. She’s toying with humor and words and reactions and watching her brought us all together to laugh from a proper perspective. I get it, Big Guy, and thank you for the subtle nudge back to what matters.

I have to get control over my anxieties. These years won’t wait for me; they are dashing past me, only pausing for a second to become a memory. These people are the loves of my life and no commitment is worth sabotaging a single second of attention. It’s time to circle back to meditation and make a conscious effort to slow the pace I’m setting. Any suggestions for balance are welcome.

Tune in Today, Wellness

Collecting dough from DietBet

September 7, 2015

Update: Tune in today to see if she can … take her DietBet to the bank.

The emotional roller coaster that was the game of DietBet ended on Tuesday with a touch-and-go finale. On Monday, I was .8 of a pound over, and by the next morning, I was 1 pound below my goal. I’m sure I dropped the weight by stressing it straight off my body, but that’s neither here nor there.

I received the text with my “code word” on my drive to work, so a sweet coworker brought in her scale so I could hammer down my final number. It felt a little like the start of a super-secret Weight Watchers meeting in a back alley. (I look so short and shiny in this picture. Like a toddler who rubbed coconut oil all over her face. What the …)


The process is much like a first date. You submit your results pics and then they have to be “accepted” by the DietBet referees or officials or whatever title you give to a bunch of interns who sit around in a room all day evaluating photos of either delighted or defeated human beings standing on scales. Body Shot Surveyors? Anyway, you have to patiently delay gorging on your frozen Snickers in anticipation of their reply. Do they need to see you again? Are they good with what you put out there? It’s an agonizing holding period.

Finally, the response:

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The next stage was one of extremely exaggerated and unrealistic speculation. How much was I going to take from the pot? A “splurge” would indicate something of great value … like treating myself to a new dress, or fancy dinner with friends, or a car. I mean, what if I won like $20,000, you guys?! This is both a testament to my ability to sensationalize mediocre events and also my grossly disappointing mathematical intelligence.

On Friday, this one came:

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Which, as my husband so Hankly put it, makes sense when you figure about 50% of the contestants made their Bet. Math is stupid.

Final thoughts … I’d do it again. Sure I would. It was fun and my pants were slightly baggier by the end and these days, I count that as something to celebrate. I did it by maintaining my workout regimen and tracking calories. I then toasted both my victory and my buns with a sloppy butterburger that blew the whole point of the competition right out of the water. Maintain, Courtney … Main-freaking-tain.

Thoughts from the peanut gallery:

“Originally, I thought it was hugely motivating, because hello, money. but then I thought that the small amount of weight would come off easily after having a baby and I kind of forgot about it. Plus you don’t know how much money you’re going to get, what if you just get your $30 back and that’s it? Fast forward to the end of the challenge, I still have a pound to go and I’m spending the entire morning peeing and pumping milk so I can hit my weight. I would do it again, but only when I’m really ready to overhaul the diet and exercise regimen.” – Nissa

“Fuck. That. Shit. I say this because I just wasn’t ready. Looking for one to start on Tuesday. I like beer.” – Kathy
(Editor’s note: In addition to beer, Kathy, like Shazzer from Bridget Jones’ Diary, likes to say fuck a lot.)

Until next time …