What Kelli Schmith, Studs Terkel, and Albert Einstein Have in Common

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Despite lives that span three centuries, these two guys and I share a belief that transcends time, space, and (yes) even communication platforms.

Community, be it visible or not, transforms you.

I discovered it this morning, half awake, clinging to my coffee cup, the universal shrine of Mondays.  Savoring the 5 a.m. silence, I opened a new book and (of all things) began reading its Forward, contributed by Studs himself:

Once you join others, even though at first your mission fails, you become a different person. A stronger person.

You feel that you really count; you discover your strength as an individual because you have, along the way, discovered others share in what you believe.

You are not alone; and thus a COMMUNITY is formed.”

This I Believe

Terkel was paraphrasing Albert Einstein in This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women

The Serendipitous Epiphany

It turns out that the Aha prompting me to start this post  wasn’t the Real Aha.

The Real Aha — the Epiphany — is both very personal and very public.  Those 55-words  — borrowed from Studs Terkel and on loan from Albert Einstein — sum up my life’s journey  in the last year.

Thinking 2010 was the kick-off to marketing significance, I hadn’t factored in the impact of ignoring my health and a life-changing crisis in my extended family.  My vision of success dimmed in the glare of developments far greater and intensely more humbling.

But in the midst of that change, I’d become part of a group.  I belonged. I shared something. The people inside of that group taught me more about myself than I could have learned in solitude.  The stress, the deadlines, the drive to change were glue for the team; but more importantly those elements were the foundation of friendships.

Failure: the Real Aha? Continue reading

Top 10 Ways I’m Getting Fit After the Holidays

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Photo Credit: Horton Group

I’m intrigued by TwitterMoms (an idea that I sorely wish I’d had first), but this is first time I’ve joined in one of their infamous RamboAlerts. Today’s call-out for writers posed the question: What are your top 10 ways for getting fit after the holidays?

It’s a New Year, so what the hey! Oh yes, I’m shamelessly doing this experiment because it involves a carrot. If Lady Luck is on my side, I could randomly win a copy of EA SPORTS Active™ Personal Trainer.

Although I’d like to think my fitness tips will inspire you, I’ll sweeten the deal.  If I end up being one of the 5 winners, I’ll post a video of me doing Jazzercise on YouTube.

Kelli’s Top 10 Ways She’s Getting Her Arse in Gear

  1. 7 good hours of shut-eye. The kicker: lights out by 11.
    Have you read what Dr. Oz has to say about sleep? For one thing, it does more than just keep the ugly stick away. Now that I’ve rounded the 40-bend, I’m hell-bent on preserving every brain cell I can. Ditto on the importance of sleep for strength, resilience, and energy for my workout.
  2. Water first. Breakfast second. Coffee third.
    Despite my desperation for a cup of the hot stuff as soon as I roll out of bed, I put the java on hold until I’ve downed 8 ounces of the clear stuff.  Ditto on a bowl of oatmeal before I pump caffeine into my veins.
  3. Strap on a pedometer.
    A step is a step is a step, so each morning I grab my pedometer before you can say “hit the snooze button.” The old business adage you can’t manage what you don’t measure applies to moving your feet. My goal: 10,000 steps (workout movement doesn’t count).
  4. Walking my dog to the corner to pee.
    Sure, it may not sound like much, but her bladder is tiny which guarantees a day’s cumulative 500-steps on my trust pedometer.
  5. Jazzercise with my BFF.
    Here’s the deal — I like to shake my groove-thing. I like to kick, wiggle, and do all kinds of ridiculous moves that would draw ridicule on So You Think You Can Dance. But no matter how many trainers, gyms or pieces of equipment I’ve used, I always come back to Jazzercise. It only took me 10 years to get my BFF to quit laughing at me and give it a whirl (she’s hooked).
  6. P90X alongside my husband
    Mmmmhmmm, that’s right. Ms. Infomercial Cynic must admit it: P90X rocks. My husband, who had 6 months of fitness under his belt, decided to give it a whirl, and I’m here to tell you that he’s a changed man.  Heed the warnings, though, the program isn’t for newbies. It’s also not for people who gave up cursing as a New Year’s resolution.
  7. Burned the baggies of leftover holiday goodies.
    I’m a sugar freak. I admit it. So on January 4, I emptied out the containers of those delightful crunchy, sticky, sweet snacks.  I’m still recovering from the pain of it.
  8. Squatting properly.
    In this case, I don’t mean a weightlifter’s squat (although proper execution of that is keenly important). I’m talking about everyday care and loving of your back. Mayo Clinic has a handy how-to for proper bending and lifting.
  9. Clinching when I drive.
    Instead of clinching my teeth or the steering wheel, I pump up the tunes and do isometric moves while I’m in the car. You’d be amazed at how many small, controlled moves you can do with your glutes and abs.
  10. Stretching – a lot.
    I envy Dara Torres for a whole bevy of reasons but mostly because she keeps a trainer on staff purely to keep her stretched and limber. But that doesn’t stop me from trying to be a wannabe Gumby.

Leave me a comment so that I can be sure to let you know if and when my YouTube  exercise video clip airs.  Here’s to Lady Lucky and properly-fitting workout pants!

Photo used under the licensing agreement of Stock.xchng.

 

Powerful Clicks: 5 Great People, Causes or Concepts

Here are the people, articles or topics that stopped me in my tracks this week.

Threads of Love

This weekend, my mother-in-law was knitting a baby’s cap, small enough to cover the tiny head of a 2 1/2 pound premature infant. She doesn’t know the name of the baby who will wear the cap, nor whether the premature infant is struggling to live or has died from complications.

threadsofloveNone of that matters, because Katie does it out of love as do the other women in the  local Threads of Love chapter.

Threads of Love, a non-denominational organization, began in Baton Rouge, La., in 1993 to provide handsewn clothing, blankets and other items for tiny premature and sick infants.  Today, there are 162 chapters across the United States, Canada and Europe.

As you’ll see from their website, this is a simple group without a lot of bells and whistles. Everything is donated, and if you can count to five, they can put you to work.  Threads of Love simply extends the priceless gift of comfort (and prayer) during a time of uncertainty for parents who have just lost, or may lose, their newborn.

When I asked my mother-in-law if she prayers while she knits the little pastel-colored caps, she smiled and said, “Oh, of course I do.” Knowing what a faith-filled woman she is, I have no doubt that the parents of that little 2 1/2 pound baby will sense the unconditional goodwill  tucked into every stitch.

Dan Caro

dancarofacebookYou’ll think twice about uttering another wimpy, ridiculous excuse after you encounter Dan Caro.  A freak  flash fire engulfed Dan at the age of 2, and it burned 80% of his body and took both of his hands and feet.

His harrowing treatments and rehabilitation didn’t deter him from fulfilling his dream of becoming a musician and drummer. I dare you to “meet” Dan without shedding a tear. You’ll resolve to look differently at the challenges at your doorstep.

P.S. I discovered Dan while watching Dr. Wayne Dyer’s latest PBS program called Excuses, Begone. If you see it, stop and watch it.

Carolene Mays

Indianapolis Woman

Indianapolis Woman

There are no chance encounters, so when I met firecracker-of-a-woman Carolene at the June 4  Whale Hunting Women Summit, I took notes.  Mays choreographed the turnaround of the Indianapolis Recorder as the CEO/Publisher of the nation’s third oldest African-American publication.

Impressive? Yes. But that’s the least of her story.   Mays survived life-threatening domestic violence, which fuels her efforts to tighten domestic violence legislation. See her influence in Indiana Senate Bill 32.

Every year, 5.3 million women are abused. This isn’t just a dark horror for the victims; domestic violence creates a costly ripple across society. The health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking, and homicide by intimate partners exceed $5.8 billion each year.  Carolene inspired me to learn more and pass it on.

Sharp Brains

SharpBrains is the leading research group that focuses on cognitive science and neuroscience, specializing in the areas of education and health care. Their brand new book about brain fitness shot them to the top of my Top 5 Click List. SharpBrainsGuidetoBrainFitness2

Even if you aren’t reading it as a parent, educator or trainer, you’ve got your own brain to think about — and you’ll be amazed at how much influence you have over the health and longevity of your noggin.

It is simply impossible to walk away from this book without seeing an exciting glimpse of what’s possible for everything from attention disorders, the aging population, to Alzheimer’s patients and brain-trauma recovery.

Ten Rules for Being Human

I found this thanks to a tweet from Tim Ferriss (author of The 4 Hour Work Week).