Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Not About The Medal

"Education does not exist to provide you with a job ....Education is here to nourish your soul." - Ruth Simmons, 1st female president of Brown University, 1st black president of an Ivy League School.

I recently read this quote from Ruth Simmons in the local newspaper.  Ruth Simmons became the president of Smith College just after I finished graduate school there in the early 90's.  I wish I had the opportunity to hear her speak, not only because she had already broken so many barriers, but because (from my understanding) she was very, very well liked by the college and local community. Something about this quote struck me from an athlete's and a coach's perspective. 

First, let me say that I actually do feel that education can and many times does exist as a path and means to getting a job. Her statement does, however bring out important message, which is to open ourselves to letting education feed all aspects of our being - doesn't matter what level or what kind of education (high school, technical/trade school, college and beyond).  Sadly, I think I let that part go when I went to both undergraduate and graduate school. I was focused primarily on my sport (running) and my specific studies and duties in grad school.  I let my  inner somewhat quiet passion for music and writing fall by the wayside.  I never took advantage of taking other courses that would nurture that part of my soul.  Certainly that focus of pursuing my major, being a top runner and of course, surviving graduate school was pretty important. I also went into a field that ended up being totally related to what I do for work, however I wish I had a bit more fun and taken advantage of what my educational institutions  had to offer.  I recall walking out of a day of classes and studying from the building at Smith where most of my courses were held.  I'd always walk by the music hall on my way home and hear students practicing the piano, or taking a voice lesson or playing a cello. Sometimes I would sit on a step near-by and just listen ... wondering what it would feel like if I was in one of those rooms taking a singing lesson or guitar lesson.  It was something I used to do in high school (sing and play music).  When I left those sessions I had the same kind of feeling I got when I finished up cross-country practice, which was one of being totally relaxed and somewhat uplifted! Sadly, I still have left those aspects of my earlier life by the wayside. My guitar sits in a closet in a dusty case and I have not joined any local singing groups! Maybe I'll joing "Young At Heart" if I live to be in my 80's!

I have noted in previous blogs that while I was able to compete at the top level as a triathlete, I never allowed that experience to nourish my soul completely. I was caught up in National and World rankings. I was caught up in who would be my next sponsor, how to get my next sponsor, if I would place high enough to bring home a check and how to become a faster swimmer so I wouldn't get dropped from the top tier pack in races. People often remind me that those stresses are normal for someone competing at that high level.  This is true, but so many of my competitors knew how to have fun and really enjoy the experiences of traveling, developing friendships despite being competitors, having a few beers after a race, not getting caught up in the stress of the race. I had an amazing coach for eight years who tried to remind me to connect with the full experience and have more fun, but I really feel that I was just slower in my maturity process as an athlete. Racing  for me now is not about placing or getting a medal when I cross the line. I pay that big 'ol entry fee for the whole race experience package!  I know so many that do this sport for personal recognition and for the medals.  Kind of leaves me feeling empty when I think about it! Making the choice and having the opportunity to compete and be a part of a triathlon or any athletic event is about nourishing the soul. It's about getting up at 4am to drive to a race, being a little nervous, eating strange foods that seem like a normal part of our diets (like gels and shot blocks), standing in line at the Porto-Potties and making small chat, working at the top of our fitness limits and not being afraid to do so, having a beer post race (if available), and enjoying the car ride home in stinky clothing. Now that's nourishing the soul!  I think anything we do in life and many of the choices we make must somehow nourish our soul .... at least this is how I try to live mine. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Finding Balance

As a coach, it's easy to feel as if I've failed and athlete if she or he does not have the performance they are capable of or expect. I feel the same way if someone struggles to reach a certain fitness goal.  I tend to be pretty hard on myself with this issue and often have to talk some sense back into myself while taking a bike ride or a run.  On the same note, I share with equal enthusiam and excitement when an athlete or fitness client reaches a milestone. 

I can say with confidence that every program I create is done with great intention.  I'm also careful to consider a person's work and family life not to mention much needed "chill" time and all the extra time needed just to do things like grocery shop, get your car oil changed, walk the dogs, make meals etc.  I try to write programs that allow for balance.  I have learned that people really appreciate and enjoy having some structure with regard to their training, racing or fitness goals. It's nice to have a calendar that notes the progressive structure of  daily workouts with included heart rate/effort zone, and occasional added drills.  I have to admit, I love having that kind of structure and often feel and peform better when I do that for myself Too bad I don't that often enough!  What I can't control is what goes on in a person's life outside of the training aspect, and this is what I have to remind myself of constantly.  This is the part of my job that causes me to struggle. Wouldn't it be nice if we had a nice, neatly packaged plan that kept us balanced in all aspects of our life?  Let's face it, life is hard and we are thrown challenges constantly.  Finding balance and staying balanced is an ongoing process and sometimes it's harder than others.  As much as I feel a plan is appropriately structured for someone, I can't control if their kid was up all night vomiting, if they had to pull an extra shift at work, if they broke a toe while sleep walking or are struggling with something on a very personal level.  What I can be is compassionate and empathetic because I also have had to find and create that balance in my life over and over.  I have set certain priorities in my life which have really helped me stay in,or come back to balance when I've felt that that I was slipping.  Great performances often do not happened because "balance" just was not present in his or her life.  I find that most injuries  or illnesses occur when some significant part of someone's life is off balance. Those that bounce back, heal and regain balance the fastest are the ones who have learned how to become a resilient individual. I also fee strongly that balance can be restored faster for those that are proactive about seeking support, whether it be physical or emotional therapy. 

I recently had dinner with an athlete that I have coached for about two years. He started with me having never owned a bike and now has the typical triathlete's fifteen pair of running shoes in his garage (as well three different types of bikes hanging on his wall).  He's made some of the biggest and fastest improvements I've every seen in any athlete in a very short period of time.  With this being said, we are both waiting for him to put together that peak performance in which everything comes together  at the level we both believe he is capable of achieving.  He's come very close.  During our dinner conversation we talked about some things that make a really great performance happen.  Sometimes it's just as simple as "it just happens" when you least expect it.  More often however it happens because we set ourselves up for success.  Most people don't realize that they are sabotaging their chances of a great race or the chance of racing well on a consistent basis. This is why when someone calls me after a race and says that it did not go so well or as they had hoped, I start asking questions. Usually, the answers as to why come to the surface.  Here are a couple of examples.

The athlete I noted above who has yet to have his peak day (and it's coming) disregarded his usual pre-race plan the night before a half Ironman.  Instead of chilling, resting up and storing his mental and physical energy the day before the event, he went out on a boat with friends, did some tubing, ate poorly and just totally got away from "his game."  Part of his reasoning for doing so was because friends had come a long way to see him race and he felt obligated to hang with them, even though he knew what he really needed to do was rest up.  He sabotaged his taper and ultimately, his race. Lesson learned? Sometimes you have to be selfish the night before a race.  Another athlete I coach placed second in a race he probably should have won. Sounds harsh I know, because second place at a championship event is pretty impressive. He noted that he felt flat on the bike and had nothing on the 2nd half of the run. So, I began asking questions.  Apparently the swim was delayed for over a half an hour and participants had to sit on the beach and nervously wait for fog to lift.  I asked him if he stayed hydrated, made sure to take in calories, walked away from the nervous energy (knowing he gets very nervous).  The answers? "No," "no", and "no."  As a matter of fact, he forgot to hydrate even and eat even before the delay. He sabotaged his race.  Lesson learned?  Have a fueling and eating protocol for every scenario and go find a chill space. I will say that I have witness people who have sabotage their chances of reaching their goals out of fear of failing to be succesful. Sound twisted? It's a whole other can of goodiess for discussion.

Everyone has a different way of keeping that pre-race balance. Sometimes it takes a while and serveral experiences to figure out those elements.  I used to get horribly, horribly nervous before my races when I was competing at the pro level.  I managed to figure out that I usually performed better if I stayed with a host family (versus in a hotel).  I also found that watching a funny movie the night before relaxed me and took my mind of the pending event.  I'm not racing at that level anymore so I don't have to deal with those kinds of nerves these days, however I still try to set myself up for success by staying as balanced as possible on all levels.  What happens if the balance is thrown off by something out of our control (for example your child waking up in the middle of the night with nightmares and disrupting your sleep?)  You go to "plan B", which is to "go with the flow."  I work with a couple of athletes who are amazing at doing this and while they may not have felt on top of their game, they didn't allow the uncontrollable elements to steal any mental energy.  The balance might have been thrown off a bit, but the resiliant side of them kicked in!

I often say to athletes who are competing in and Ironman that there will be periods during the event where things will feel balanced then there will be periods of lows, when they may not feel they can take another step. It is at that point that they need to aske themselves, "what do I need?"  Figure it out, switch things up.  It's the same with life, don't you think?  When things are off balance, ask yourself what it is that you need ..... and  you will probably find an answer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes you don't finish!

Well, I'm back from my little NJ beach excursion and accomplished all that I wanted to since I last posted. Enjoyed some time walking on the beach and collecting sea glass with Lisa.  Lisa won the prize for finding the best piece of sea glass of which I forgot to take a picture.  It was white, large, thick and really worn out..... the kind you want to keep in your pocket and rub with your thumb all day.   We have quite a collection going in a glass bowl at our house.  I had a bit of down time from my computer and spent A LOT of time trimming some overgrown lavender bushes on the side of the house.  Of course Lisa warned me of the poison under each bush and I ignored, clipping and clearing away in my shorts.  Wouldn't you know I woke up the next day itching all over.  I also woke up scratching my lower leg in the middle of the night only to find some kind of major bite.  My lower leg swelled to the size of a football so I put on some anti itch cream and popped a Benedryl at night.  My leg is no longer swollen, but the nasty bite is still pronounced. It was not until I had my best friend over for dinner last night that she FREAKED saying she just saw a piece on Good Morning America regarding dangerous spider bites and mine looked like one of them. Here is a picture I took of it last night (the little bumps on the right are what I think to be, poison oak).

Gross huh? So, with all this being said, I'm going to see the doctor tomorrow to have it checked out. 

On to the piece of this blog that has to do with the title (forgive me for the long blog that I am about to write, however there may be lessons to pull from it). Lisa and I ended up racing at the Eagleman Half Ironman Triathlon in Cambridge, MD on June 12th.  I wavered about it for months but started to feel like I was getting in pretty darn good shape, so I committed to doing it and was glad that I did so.  The good news is that I felt absolutely INCREDIBLE during the swim, bike and the start of the run. The bad news is that I had to pull out just before mile 3 of the run because my soleus (calf) muscle started knotting up to the point where I could not walk normally.  I made the mistake of running a track workout on very little sleep a few weeks ago. It was a humid morning and although I prepped with a few electrolytes, my calf muscle gave a little pinch about halfway through the workout. I stopped immediately (having had done this before), and let it rest and calm down for 8 days. Took a mini test run, 3 days before the race and all seemed okay.  Obviously it was not ready to run after a 1.2 mi swim and a 56 mile bike ride.  Bummer city to say the least but that's how the dice roll.

Oddly, my worries before the race had to do with my right knee and not AT ALL with my soleus.  I had a short bike interval workout planned on the Wednesday before the race. Lisa and I went out to do it together and just after the first interval, I flatted (45 min from our house).  I pulled a a spare tube from my kit only to find that the tube had the wrong kind of stem (did not fit through my deeper rimmed wheels).  Pulled out my 2nd spare only to find it was the wrong size.  So, Lisa rode home and came back in the car to pick me up. I sat on the side of the road for an hour. It was 30 min before anyone stopped to see if I was okay. Jeez, that was a long time.  I felt like a dork standing there.  Picked off one tick that found it's way to me which grossed me out. What is it with bugs and me! 

Anyway, I was determined to do my intervals (more for a confidence booster) so I hopped on my Computrainer and off I went, feeling super strong. Found I was pushing more watts than than in the past for these efforts.  The next day, I taught a spin class on a bike I don't usually ride. I completely forgot to switch out the instructor bike to one that felt good for me.  Next morning, my knee really, really hurt going downstairs and walking on flats.  I strongly feel I had a bit of tendinitis going on from the combination of my Computrainer workout and my spin class.  Freaked me and still could feel it slightly on race morning. 

On to the race details. 

Pre Race: Felt calmly excited despite being a bit worried about my knee.  My race went off at 8am, which was 1:10 after the pro wave and 1 hour after Lisa's wave.  I continued to sip on sports drink, made sure to get in some pre-race calories.  I organized all of my bike and run stuff in my transition spot (which happened to be prime real estate just out of the swim and near the run exit spot. I spent about 15 min under a shady tree doing some visualization of my swim to bike transition and my bike to run transition.  Also went over my nutritional plan in my head one last time.  I was set to jet!

Swim:  There were no wetsuits allowed because the water temperature was 82 degrees. Lisa and I spaced on packing our speed suits but fortunately, I did pack my one piece, very tight fitting (slightly sexy .... okay .... not sexy) tri suit. Unfortunately, the color is BLACK which did not bode well for the hot and sunny conditions that day, but I wasn't going to drop $100 on another tri suit.  Lisa ended up buying a one piece tri suit at the expo that looked fab on her AND totally matched her bike and cycling shoes, which is super important for triathletes. We both admitted, when taking a closer look, that the seam structure had a bit of an early 80's, Jane Fonda aerobic suit kind of design.  Cracked us both up!  Anyway, I guzzled about 10oz water right before entering the water and swam out  to the front of my age group pack, lining up with the buoys. While waiting for the start, I did ask myself why the heck I continued to do this sport, especially these longer races. The answer was simple; "Because I can .... because I am able to do so."  A greater calm came over me at that point.

Once the horn sounded, I got right into my groove but had one little friend to my left that kept whacking the crap out of me.  So, I did a quick shift to the right to get rid of her and found my space.  After about 5 minutes I opted for a wider line, staying away from the mass. This worked well for me as I was really able to focus on a strong but relaxed rhythm.  I knew I could lose a bit of time with my chosen line, yet at the same time I thought I might benefit because I was not getting caught up in other swimmers.  I swam into folks from the two age groups that started prior to mine by the last 15 minutes. I stayed calm as I navigated, trying to quietly swim by them so not to make them nervous. I swam right up onto shore and remember thinking that it was the first time in a long time that I enjoyed the swim. It felt just like all of my half Ironman practice swims in the pool. I looked at my watch just before running onto the timing mat and saw 32:27 .... my fastest 1/2 IM swim in years! Yahoo! Oddly, when I looked at the results, my time was listed as 35:39 .... not sure where that came from in comparison to my watch. 

So, off I went into transition (apparently 4th out of the water in my age group).  I downed a gel, took 2 electrolyte tabs and a swig of sports drink.  As I was running out of transition, a volunteer noted that my race number belt was missing.  Duh! During my visualization session I was imagining myself putting on the number belt at the start of the run, not the bike.  Goes to show you just how effective visualization practice can be! So, back I went (about 2 bike racks away) to put on my number belt and then get the heck out of there and on the course!

Bike: FANTASTIC! Stuck to my plan.  I happened to catch a bit of the pre-race pro, media talk the day before the event. Those that I heard speak noted they had a coach, had a plan and stuck to that plan. I can't stress enough how that hit home for me.  At about mile 5, Donna Kay-Ness came roaring by me.  I VOWED that I would not respond to her this year if we ended up next to each other (we always end up next to each other on the bike, playing the cat and mouse game).  I wanted to race my race, at my heart rate zones and my pace.  So, once again, I stuck to my plan!  I have to say that I really, really enjoyed this bike ride.  I did feel discomfort in my knee for the 1st hour and worried a bit, then I think the adrenaline kicked in and I was relieved when the pain went away.  I was cruising along at 22-23.5 miles per hour comfortably at a target heart rate range of 152-158.  Not once did I feel fatigued.  Not once did an head winds bother me.

Run: I headed into transition excited about my ride (I came off the bike in 3rd place in my age group ... did not know it at the time) anticipating the start the hardest part of the day, the run. I did feel a very, very, VERY slight tightness in my calf as I ran my bike into transition but tried not to focus on it.  As I removed my cycling shoes, I noted that my left big toe (on the bunion) was totally bloody, as was my shoe. Hmmm, that never happened before! Funny how "things"  come up during races. Again, did not focus on it and just hoped it would not be a major issue later in the run. I took my time heading out on the first mile, adjusting my little fuel pack on my waist, stopping and fixing my shoe lace. Checked my heart rate and it was a bit high so I tried to settle down a bit.  Thought I was running at about an 8:30 pace and was surprised to see 6:55 with the stopping and adjusting.  I chatted a bit with a guy I was running next to during the second mile.  He was on his way to a personal best if he could nail the run.  My only goal was to NOT SUFFER on the run as I have in years past.  I immediately felt spring in my legs, which was a good sign. Unfortunately, that little tug in my calf started and quickly progressed to a full blown tie up (just as it did on the track).  It did not take me more than another mile to make the decision to call it quits.  The choice was to risk tearing my soleus muscle and be out for the season, or to stop, let it mend for a couple of weeks and have a season to look forward to.  A no brainer in my book as bummed as I was to have to do so. I'm not a quitter.  So, I hitched a motorcycle ride back to transition (you can imagine how I looked on the back of it wearing a helmet in my tri-suit).  I changed and waited for Lisa and another athlete (Matt) that I coach to finish.  Lisa had a great day despite having to battle some nerves about swimming without a wetsuit.  Matt had a good finish despite throwing up most of the day. I give him credit for his mental toughness. He learned a lot of lessons during the event as well as the days leading up to the event.  He did not stick to his plan with regard to his pre-race ritual and paid for it.

Later that day I bumped into Donna Kay Ness, who won our age group.  I hated having to say that I had to pull out ..... hated it.  I wonder what might have happened on the run if my calf was okay.  I wonder if I could have made up the 3 minutes she gained on me during the bike.  I wonder how it all would have turned out.  Who knows, maybe I would have fallen aport. All I know is that I felt great and that in itself was proof that I am in pretty good shape.  That in itself makes me happy. 

Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of the day or those days leading up to it. I'm terrible about taking pictures. But hey, I did post of my gross spider bite!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Living Longer .... Living Better!

I recently read the article noted below from a monthy journal/magazine that I receive called; Idea Fitness. While it's focus is on factors that have been correlated with people who live long (based on a book by Dan Buettner), I feel the article also serves as a guide to living BETTER (as in a hearty, good quality life).  I went through the "blue zone list" and was able to check off most in relation to how I'm currently living my life. The only one that was not checked was taking vacation time .... I think I'll make that a priority in coming years! Or, perhaps I should move to Italy!

Check it out:

The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From he People Who've Lived the Longest

Is there a formula for longevity? Researchers are looking for clues in the “blue zones,” locations around the globe where people live measurably longer than in the rest of the world. Explorer and author Dan Buettner and teams of scientists identified some of these longevity pockets and traveled there to examine the lifestyle characteristics that may contribute. Buettner’s book The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest (National Geographic 2008) details their experiences with vibrant and healthy elderly people in the blue zones.

Mary Monroe, a freelance writer in Los Angeles, summarizes some of Buettner’s findings and how they can help you live a longer, better life.

A Blue Zone Example

The four blue zones identified in Buettner’s book are Okinawa, Japan; Sardinia, Italy; the Nicoya Peninsula of Costa Rica; and Loma Linda, California.

What are the blue zones like? Behaviors that Buettner and the researchers found in common in these blue zones are listed in the sidebar “9 Tips for Longevity.” As an example of one blue zone, consider the Nicoya Peninsula community in Costa Rica. Buettner reports that, per capita, Costa Rica spends only about 15% of what America does on health care, yet its people appear to live longer than anyone else on earth. Centenarians here have a strong sense of purpose, family and community, and most have enjoyed hard physical work throughout their lives. They spend regular time in the sun and eat light dinners and a traditional diet of maize (corn) and beans.

Your Personal Blue Zone

“The secret to longevity, as I see it, has less to do about diet—or even exercise—and more to do about the social and physical environment in which you live,” says Buettner. “People in the blue zones live rewardingly inconvenient lives. They walk to the store, to church and to their friends’ homes. They do their own yard work, hand-knead their own bread dough.”

The bad news is that, in reality, for most of us not living in blue zones, our chances of living to 100 are still quite small. Lessons from the blue zones may well be as much about the quality of years as quantity. Much of the aging process is, after all, a mystery.

However, Buettner believes that you can make changes in your environment to create your own “personal blue zone” to promote health and longevity. He emphasizes that his goal isn’t to force unrealistic expectations on people who don’t live in blue zones, but rather to encourage gradual “big-picture” lifestyle changes that will foster healthy habits like daily movement, natural and moderate eating, purpose-driven living and more social connection.

For more information on ongoing blue zones research and longevity-related projects and programs, see

SIDEBAR: 9 Tips for Longevity

Based on the habits of blue zone populations, Buettner identifies nine lifestyle characteristics that may help you live a longer, healthier life:

1. Make regular activity intrinsic to your daily routines.

2. Have a “Plan de Vida,” i.e., a mission or purpose that gives meaning to your life.

3. Take your life out of the fast lane: work less, slow down, rest, take vacations.

4. Eat less by following the “80% rule.” (Stop eating when you’re 80% full.)

5. Shift your diet to more vegetables and fruits, less protein and fewer processed foods.

6. Drink red wine in moderation.

7. Create a healthy social network.

8. Cultivate spiritual or religious beliefs and participation.

9. Make family a priority.

“We see from the blue zones and aging research in general that these behaviors are associated with longer life—and the same things that can help get you to a healthy 90 or 100 can get you there better,” says Buettner. “They don’t just add years; they’re vital, enriching years.”


Buettner, D. 2008. The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, Des Moines, IA: National Geographic.IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 8, Number 2

Monday, January 17, 2011


I recently read an article in the Smith College Alumni Quarterly that totally captivated my attention. The article was called, The Happiness Paradox, by Andrea Cooper, and was focused on women and happiness (what defined happiness to various women). The article took into consideration factors and other questions such as a woman’s self-pressure to feel or be happy; “….. [Are] intelligent, compassionate, often overworked women [expected) to feel happy all the time? …… Is happiness something to be pursued?”

I often think about my own happiness and am happy to say that I really am happy most of the time! I can’t say that I felt that way in my childhood or my teen years (who did?) …. Or even my 20’s and 30’s. However, I think those years for, most part are a rollercoaster of self-discovery and struggle sprinkled with moments of happiness. Now however, I feel happy as a whole, which means the peaks and valleys of unhappiness are just not there. That’s not to say for instance, if I lost my partner, or a family member, or found out I had cancer that I would not go into a period of great sadness or despair. I would, for sure. The question for me would be, would I be able to rebound and create or re-create a state of happiness?  I see happiness as something that has to be created .... as in I create my own happiness by the choices I make and those experiences I choose to absorb, tune into and pay attention to (such as taking in an amazing sun-rise from the field accross our street or getting on the floor and playing with our dogs).

I consider myself a very resilient person. I don’t know where that quality came from but in my case I think my resilience and happiness are partly inherited. I also consider myself, for the most part, to be an optimist. I don’t do well when surrounded by negative energy …. my internal chemistry changes and my body absorbs it. I have made choices in my life during the past several years to avoid negative energy. My father has always been the eternal optimist. This is a guy who started his own business from scratch with a small amount of money. He ran for mayor …and lost. He was a talented runner who ran every day at lunchtime. He got hit by a car during a run in the early 90’s, lost a leg, had severe brain trauma (to the point where he had trouble putting a simple puzzle together) and went on to make a full recovery. He kept a pair of running shoes in his closet for years, thinking he might be able to run again one day. He never complained about his injuries or accident. He just went on. He rides his bike just about everyday – as long as he can workout, he’s a happy camper. I get that. My mother, although she passed when I was young from her own personal period of despair, had such a bubbly personality and the most upbeat voice – it will always and forever be remembered in my head. I consider myself to be lucky. I feel I am in a state of homeostasis, meaning all realms of my life right now are aligned and balanced. Certainly the ways I manage to create and balance my life differs from someone else. I will say that exercise plays a big role in my ability to balance aspects of my life.  I'm a better partner, more productive worker, better listener and all around happier camper thanks to exercise.  How happy would I be if I could not exercise?

I’d like to share some of the quotes from various women from the happiness article. I found them all to be totally inspiring and wanted to pass them on to inspire anyone who is reading this blog. Read and maybe question your own happiness;

“The more comfortable you are with yourself, the more you define your own happiness.” – Annie Mortia

“To be happy …. You want to be doing things and not over-thinking.” – Smith Professor, Peake

“Little things that make her happy usually involve a physical component coupled with some sort of indulgence, like hiking all morning and stopping for blueberry pancakes on the way home.” – Dawn Dill

“…. life is such a combination of threats and opportunities …. If we’re not resilient, we will fall.”   
  -Barbara Becker Holstein (speaking on resilience).

“…. practicing gratitude and mindful awareness of what we can have can bring about happiness…”  - Peggie Gillespie

“Happy is always thrust into a future that never comes. We truly only have now. Now is where our power is.” – Sheila Steplar

“…. Happiness may not lie in what happens to you but in how you respond.” – Lynne Thomas