The First Headline About Festive Fleet

When deciding to leave a then-11-person organization for a Fortune 50 Company, I was most excited to see what an organization of that caliber could accomplish. What impact they could have on the communities they’re in.

I’ve been lucky to dive into that first hand, in my first quarter with Comcast, by being the Twin Cities Region lead for Festive Fleet. While I’m a woman of words, I’d rather show you just what Festive Fleet is:

Festive Fleet has given me the opportunity to empower a team of technicians and support staff to embrace the impact they’re capable of. We leverage the relationships they are building in homes every day, and asked them to nominate deserving customers for a special gift.

These are customers who are financially struggling, suffering from a loss in the family, encountering a difficult time, creating a pleasant experience for technicians in their home, or unfortunately having an unpleasant experience with Comcast.

Customers aren’t asking for these gifts, or reaching out to us with these stories. These stories are discovered by the Technician’s time in the home, and their ability to be there as a person, for a person, rather than completing a job for a customer and leaving.

I could talk for hours about the stories I read while choosing the 35 customers from the Twin Cities area to receive gifts. 

The only issue is, no one knows we do this.

While I was interviewing for Comcast, I didn’t think of Festive Fleet. I thought of many of the headlines that are probably racing through your mind now.

I decided to set up Google Alerts for Comcast so I could learn the company, but also keep tabs on the outside impression. I still read it everyday; it’s not always the most uplifting email, especially recently.

Today's Update, 12/18

But when I was about a week into my new role at Comcast, it was a different headline that made me pause. One from the Region VP down the hall, who I now often talk to while making coffee.

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Also new to his role in the Twin Cities Region, I was excited to see we were the first to admit where we have gone wrong, and also the first to bet on this team.

I have no desire to have my point of view outweigh these other headlines, rather I hope to capture the side of Comcast that no one hears about- the family that always puts the customer first.

Like peeling layers of an onion, I keep discovering new programs available to employees and customers, and new coworkers to connect with.

I was inspired by Internet Essentials, which offers low-cost Internet service, discounted computer equipment, and free digital literacy training to families with children in the National School Lunch Program. This was then expanded to eligible seniors and community college students in limited markets.

It’s solutions like these that motivate me to find creative solutions, because this fast-paced industry doesn’t allow time to say the words, “This is the way it’s always been done.”

Still, Comcast isn’t perfect. It’s a work in progress, an organization embracing new practices and priorities, and ensuring that cascades down to every single individual. And outside of an 11-person organization, there will be customer experiences and decisions that are out of my control. That’s difficult for a scrappy mind to accept.

So instead of being on the sidelines, I’ve used my scrappiness to make the Twin Cities Region close-knit and I’ve seen how this 159,000 person organization can still build partnerships across departments and regions. I’ve learned from collaborative leaders who are focused on a bigger picture that’s rooted in customer experience.

I’ve shared my experiences with others, and no longer hesitate when saying, “I’m a Marketing Specialist at Comcast” as I did my first week. Whatever reaction that brings, it’s just another opportunity to share why I am so proud to say #IAmComcast.  

 

 

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Scrappy Sings a New Tune

“Scrappy is being the first Marketing role in an organization, at your first job: I am the Marketing Coordinator at Work Effects, a business consulting company located in Downtown Minneapolis. I am focused on public relations, creating marketing materials, and running our website. Trial and error is basically built into my job description, and that’s what I love about it.” This was the first bullet point of my About page. Until about 5 minutes ago.

In August, I moved into my new condo, started a new job, and changed my entire teaching schedule. I had a really good answer when people asked, “So, whats new?”

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My new favorite view of Minneapolis

 

When life is moving so fast, the hardest thing to do can be slowing down. Let alone slow down long enough to write, and that’s why we’re all here for a 3 month delayed update. Luckily, I did take many conscious moments to process this transition, and stay present as I watched all that was familiar be put into a jar and given a good shake.

With this shake up came the release of some pieces of my identity, as I tried on a new look for size. Deleting the paragraph above made me pause. Removing myself from the Work Effects website- a site I had designed, wrote, and maintained- made me pause. Pressing send on my first mortgage payment made me pause.

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And I’m so glad it did.

When I redesigned my blog to be S is for Scrappy, it was inspired by a thought to reclaim my confidence in myself at my making-it-up-as-I-go-along job. Scrappy is not having all the answers but charging ahead anyway, it’s playing 6 different roles within one day, it’s about making confidence contagious.

Just over 90 days ago, I left my 11-person company for the very similar Fortune 50 Comcast NBCUniversal and gained 159,000 coworkers.

Those 90 days have been pretty scrappy. I didn’t question whether to take part in the labor day potluck/cooking competition, and promoted my Panzanella salad to anyone who would listen, including the VP of Sales and Marketing.

The appetizer gold trophy went to “the newest Comcaster,” and will forever stand out in my mind as a moment where I remember thinking, I feel at home.

Scrappy is being brought in on the tail-end of a project, but leading set design and answering probably too many questions with “trust me, I can see it in my head.”

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The set of our live broadcast for the finale of a Talladega Nights themed sales incentive

Scrappy is adopting a mantra of “what if we made it fun?” the first time in a corporate setting. Good news- that mindset is contagious, and effective.

Recently, I’ve been in a few conversations of friends who feel stuck in their jobs, and it’s made my recognize how truly significant this journey has been. I could have never guessed that my path had this in store. I would have never imagined I was exactly where I needed to be; gaining the experience I’d be able to speak to during a phone interview with a recruiter in Denver. That something about my scrappy mix of specialities would be the perfect fit for a thriving sales and marketing team at Comcast’s Twin Cities Region office.

You are exactly where you need to be. Something I don’t get to speak to as often is how the Om tattoo on my back captures that sentiment. “Om” has three syllables, and it represents the three stages of any experience, situation, and life- beginning, middle, and end.34550

When you are in the middle of anything- good or bad- it’s difficult to picture that ceasing to exist. This is why the bad times in our life stick out so distinctly, the seconds crawl by with no end in sight. But everything is temporary.

As I enjoy beginning this new stage, I must recognize that it will shift, grow, and change. Rather than half-heartedly enjoying this moment with the caveat of “but nothing stays perfect,” I am diving in with a present mind and full heart to allow this stage to be as glorious as it wants to be. So that the joy, beauty, and discoveries of this stage do not go unrecognized. So that I pause.

This seemingly ordinary weekend was filled with all of my favorite things- yoga, time outside with Maya and Brandon, teaching, hosting friends and family, Alpha Gam- and it made me realize how extraordinary this life I created is. 

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Nigerian Cuisine and Why I’m Grateful for Foodie Friends

 

“Are you cooking?!” My manager interjected with concern and horror all over his face. So much faith in me.

I confirmed I absolutely was, and continued to explain that this group of adventurous friends has shaped me, and pushes me to continue growing. I’m grateful and excited to try something new with them again tonight. I also asked everyone to cross their fingers it all turns out.

This crew, or my Romies as we like to say, gets together about once a month and recently we transitioned that into a cultural dinner party. Because that’s how all 20-something’s have fun.

Emily kicked us off by teaching us how to make sushi (because she loves to make and eat sushi) and we rebranded that evening into a getting a taste of her Japanese roots. Clearly, we had to run with this.

Tamara followed, with Serbian delicacies often reserved for Christmas, which happened to be completely vegetarian. Their willingness to cater to my pescetarian diet is probably why we’re such great friends.

 

That meal included a cheese pie topped with greek yogurt and apple sauce, a chickpea and bean dish, and dessert of baklava and honey pie. All of these dishes had real Serbian names but due to our Italian tradition of drinking lots of vino, I don’t remember what they’re called.

Next, it was my time to shine. Allison is on deck with an Armenian dinner, so I was kind of dreading coming up with a vegetarian English/German menu, which is basically an oxymoron.

And then it occurred to me, my cultural dinner could be inspired by the roots my family has chosen- African. Advice from my dad and some in-depth googling brought me to our Nigerian menu.

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Peanut Soup

My loose interpretation of the recipe above included:

  • 1 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp ginger
  • 1 ½ lbs sweet potatoes chopped
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, un-drained
  • 1/2- 3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ¼ -½ tsp cayenne (I personally did probably 6 shakes of this)
  • 1 package chopped frozen spinach (defrosted and cooked)
  • ½-1 tsp salt

In a 4 quart soup pot, heat the peanut oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and diced sweet potatoes. Sauté over medium heat until soft, 5-7 min.

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Greetings from my sous chef!

Add the broth, tomatoes with juice, peanut butter, tomato paste, and cayenne. Stir to combine and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Simmer the soup, covered, over medium-low heat for 10 min. Using a potato masher, roughly mash the soup to break up the potatoes. (You are still looking to have some chunks, so a coarse mash is all you need.) Add the greens and simmer uncovered for 5 min.

Jollof Rice, a recipe I actually followed for once! I added chopped sauteed shrimp.

Tamara brought something similar to samoas from the always wonderful Minneapolis-based Afro Deli. Allison nailed her dessert responsibilities with this banana cake that I’m still dreaming of:

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And those cute African placemats? Those would be courtesy of my adventurous grandparents. It’s amazing to think that such a special Friday night in my Minneapolis home was inspired, created, and built by a couple, grandparents, and a single woman immigrating from Serbia, Armenia, and Japan; and a family in Wisconsin deciding to moving to Africa with their dogs could be exciting.

It’s creating traditions like these that keep those stories part of us, and remind us how much we have to be grateful for.

 

Wanderlust 2017- Twin Cities

If there’s one thing all my friends can agree on, it’s that my coordination on the yoga mat does not translate to the dancefloor. Regardless, I’m glued to any and all wedding dance floors, and have yet to see a shimmy that can rival my own.

So it was somewhat out of character when in Zimbabwe this January, I passed up the opportunity to join in on a large dance circle at our Boma, a traditional african dinner. It was a large circle that would alternate bringing one person into the middle, and some of these people were just amazing dancers. I worried about getting pulled to the middle and not knowing what to do, so I found a place to perch and watch with my sister.

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Place settings at the Boma

The spunky mother-daughter duo on our trip jumped in right away, and when the free-spirited daughter Wendy came back, I remember telling her with a bit of envy, “That looked so fun, it was really cool to watch.”

She replied, “Oh, yeah I wasn’t watching it- I was IN it!”

The words stung a bit, and stuck with me to become my one regret of my trip.

We could credit this to my rampant FOMO, or any cliche “I Hope You Dance” lyric, but it was something more. It was a clear moment where fear stopped me from having an experience I’ll rarely get again. Where I worried more about what strangers from the other side of the world would think more than my own desires.

I hadn’t thought about this in a while, but was reminded over the weekend while attending the Twin Cities Wanderlust event, the world’s only mindful triathlon.  After completing a 5k (part 1) on a scenic St. Paul trail, our 90 minute yoga class (part 2) was to start soon, followed by a guided meditation (part 3).
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Rather than starting the class right away, the lively emcee cued the DJ to play some party music and she was getting the crowd revved up on stage. With everyone on their mats, she was inviting everyone to start dancing- which is not something people are used to starting a yoga class with. I was bouncing around (another one of my signature moves) on my mat, when I noticed someone was invited on stage.

I mentioned to my coworker, Belinda, how fun it would be to go on stage. She encouraged me to go to the front so that if they called anyone else on, I would get to go. I think she suggested this partially to get me to dance somewhere else, but also because she likes to bring out a more carefree and bold side of others.

Thinking of the Boma, I ran to the front stage. The emcee asked who wanted to go on stage, and I fan girled hard. I was disappointed when she picked a group of three friends to come up,  but I knew me and my bad dance moves could break her down with persistence.

Once another pair was called up, I decided there was no reason I needed to wait for an invitation. If I wanted to dance on stage in front of thousands of people like a crazy person, it would be pretty pathetic to miss out just because I wasn’t called on.

So I ran up with them like we’d know each other for years.

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The view from stage, which I knew my words couldn’t do justice

It was unbelievable. I knew there was no space for overthinking like I did in Africa, or half-assed bopping like I did on my mat. So I just danced however I wanted. I was completely in my own element with thousands of faceless yogis cheering me on.

Until I recognized two of the faces, my best friends Alyx and Megan, who I also had come with moved to the front of the stage.

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A year ago, I was working up the courage to practice yoga in my sports bra. Truly. As an active meditation, I would wear a sports bra (instead of a tank top) to class and challenge myself to maintain positive self talk regardless of what was reflected in the mirrors.

Dancing on stage, in that same feared get up, in front of thousands, and being filled with the utmost joy and energy, that to me is the epitome of freedom.

In the yoga class that followed, we were reminded, “No more playing small, this is your time to live big.”

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Plank club- find best friends who also have this as their idea of fun

Wanderlust allowed me to see whether it’s a scenic 5k, a once in a lifetime dance party, a 90 minute flow with a live DJ, or an outdoor meditation, it’s all yoga. It’s a mindset. It’s saying yes, and allowing yourself to experience things as fully as you can.

Yoga is an opportunity to celebrate being alive, and express gratitude for every part of your being.

We focus so much on being smaller, fitting a certain mold, and refining the edges that aren’t perfect. There’s no need to ask permission, show up exactly as you’re meant to today- whether that’s dancing your hardest, laughing (in my case, cackling) your loudest, and daring greatly in every way.

Give yourself permission to take up space, to be seen. I promise you, there’s nothing better.

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What survived of our body paint
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Guided meditation- Wanderlust 2017 Twin Cities

Summer Recipes- All Things Rhubarb

“I’ll really talk about anything,” I confirmed to a coworker who told me she listed me as a referral at a local salon, “Really anything I do or use, I’ll recommend it to everyone.” As a proud new participant of a CSA, this proves no different.

I signed up for the Good Acre Twin Cities CSA once seeing it posted at my Corepower Yoga studio. Signing up for a half share (good for two people or one vegetable crazy person), this seemed like a great way to try new fruits and vegetables and be pushed out of my cooking comfort zone.

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Sure enough, the last two weeks, I’ve received bunches of rhubarb and have had no clue what to do. All I could think of was rhubarb pie, which is quite for a non-baker like myself. Committed to consuming each week’s selection before the next pick up, I realized it was time to embrace the apron. But not the pie.

Enter a recipe I actually followed- Rhubarb Banana Bread

INGREDIENTS
  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour (spelt flour would probably work great too)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon all spice
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed (ripe) banana, about 2 medium bananas
  • ⅓ cup honey (I used agave and plan on using maple syrup next time for more flavor)
  • 1 cup finely chopped rhubarb, about 1 large stalk (for me this was 3 stalks)

prep

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and prepare an 8×4″ loaf pan* with a natural cooking spray.
  2. Whisk all dry ingredients, flour through all spice, in a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. *Use a stand or hand-held mixer to beat eggs on medium speed for about 30 seconds.
  4. Mix in vanilla, banana and honey until combined.
  5. Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Gently fold in rhubarb. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until loaf is golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool bread in pan for 10 minutes. Loosen sides with a knife and remove from pan

This was more mild than I was expecting, so I’d recommend serving with butter or whipping up a glaze to put over it. (Pretending that I can just whip up a glaze- so in my case, google it hard)

bread

Followed by- Rhubarb Strawberry Crumble

INGREDIENTS

Rhubarb Strawberry Filling
3 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt

Crumble Topping
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup large flake rolled oats
1/4 cup pecans, finely chopped

mix

 

INSTRUCTIONS

Crumble Topping
In a bowl mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, flour and oats until combined. Use a fork to mash in the softened butter until crumbly. Stir in the pecans until combined; set aside and prepare filling.

I’m a huge fan of any baking that calls for just stirring. The second I see the word zest or sift, I’m out. Enjoy how easy this is!

Rhubarb Strawberry Combo
Grease an 8 inch square baking dish or something of a similar size and set aside; Preheat oven to 400F degrees.

In a large bowl, mix together the chopped rhubarb, strawberries, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour into prepared baking dish, cover with foil and bake for about 25 minutes or until the rhubarb is just starting to get tender.

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Remove dish from the oven and lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Sprinkle the crumble evenly over top. Return to the oven to bake uncovered for another 15 minutes or so or until the crumble is golden and the filling is bubbling at the edges.

Remove and cool for 5-10 minutes. Awesome served warm or cold! I didn’t think these would stay together at all, but once chilled they’re very stable.

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Grand finale (unless I get more this Wednesday)- Banana Rhubarb Bran Muffins

Pro tip- when in doubt, follow the instructions on the box. I do think I get 30% credit for making this recipe up, though all I did was add banana and rhubarb to the Bran muffin recipe on the ____ box, without making any other adjustments. There was a pretty good chance these would be too liquidy as a result, but they turned out great! Considering it made 24 large muffins and 12 mini ones, that’s great news for me.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups Hodgson Mill unprocessed wheat bran
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter (I did 50% grassfed butter, 50% ghee)
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 5 thin rhubarb stalks (2-3 cups chopped)
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 eggs

chopped

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil 1 cup of water, and mix in 1 cup of bran muffin mix until it is absorbed
  2. In a separate bowl, blend sugar and butter
  3. Add flour, baking soda, and salt
  4. Combine the moist* bran (I tried to find a different word) with beaten eggs, mashed banana, and chopped rhubarb
  5. Mix in the remaining 2 cups of bran, almond milk, and sugar-butter-flour combo (once again, we’re just mixing!)
  6. Finally, pour into muffin tins and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Yields just over 2 dozen.

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The Truth About Being a Morning Person

My alarm goes off at 4:36 a.m. most weekdays, I physically jump out of bed to make sure I don’t snooze, and I question all of my life choices that brought me here.

It’s a nice ritual.

After waving goodbye to my sleepy dog snuggled in her crate, who gives me a little wag in return, I awkwardly cart my bike out the door with the grace of a bull in a china shop. I then hop onto my bike at 4:55 and pedal 7 miles to arrive at Corepower just before my 5:30 a.m. desk time.

By the end of mile one, I remember how much I love mornings. Some days, I have a visceral reaction to how uncomfortable bike seats are. But most days, I spend 7 miles admiring the various angles of the sunrise. After wondering if I’m missing my calling as a sunrise photographer, I’m there. I’m energized with a clear mind, and that shell-shocked 4:36 a.m. Sarah is nowhere to be found.

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Recently, I was listening to the Ted Radio Hour episode A Better You and was introduced to Matt Cutts, who committed to taking on a new habit for 30 days, every month. As he got into the swing of things, this commitment became less daunting. Rather than altering his life drastically every month, he made small changes. Some stuck, some didn’t.

But that wasn’t what he would focus on. He wouldn’t think about the level of commitment a new habit would be, he just thinks about what would be a good shift to make, and tries it out. One day at a time.

Mornings come naturally to me. But that doesn’t mean the first five minutes of being awake aren’t as hellish for me as they are for the rest of the population. I’m not immune to that, I just see past it.

People often claim they “just can’t do mornings,” and while there’s truth to when we feel our best, I have a feeling these night owls take those first five hellish minutes as a foreshadowing for the day.

They don’t wake up with a smile on their face, stretching their arms overhead with the joy of every person in any coffee or face wash commercial. But here’s the secret- as a lifelong morning person and early riser- neither do I.

But I bounce back, and I think it’s because I don’t have a story that goes along with getting up early. I don’t start the morning telling myself how tired I am, how much coffee I should consume or how to get it in IV form.

To me, mornings represent possibility. It’s a blank slate for my long to-do list, which I can optimistically look at and plan to demolish. Night time is when I feel the tendency to stress about all the boxes that were left unchecked. For some, it’s the opposite. Mornings are daunting and night is the time to revel in your accomplishments.

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But it doesn’t take long scrolling through your LinkedIn newsfeed to find out that being on the sunny side has it’s advantages.

8 Things Ridiculously Successful People Do Before 8 AM

Create a Meaningful Morning Routine by Making These Two Key Changes

10 Tweaks To Your Morning Routine That Will Transform Your Entire Day

Rather than being another person to list the 19 things you now need to do every morning (even though you hate mornings and everything of that list), I’d like to share that how you’re looking at motivation is likely all wrong.

While I’ve always been an early riser, my routine of morning workouts began because I was motivated to not shower at the Fraternity house I was living in that summer. Every morning, I’d wake up and go to a 6 a.m, yoga class, so I could use the Corepower showers instead of the ones I was sharing with five sorority sisters and 25 guys.

Somehow that inspiring tale isn’t made into a motivational poster.

I used to live less than a mile away from my yoga studio. I would always say one of these mornings, I’ll bike there, rather than drive the short distance, to teach my 6 a.m. class.

That never happened.

That’s because I’m not motivated by biking. I don’t have dreams to be the best biker, in fact, I enjoy being pretty mediocre. I don’t enjoy biking in spite of being the fastest one on the trail, I enjoy it because I don’t have to be.

I am motivated to bike because I don’t like sitting in traffic while Minneapolis reconstructs every street and highway at the same time. I probably wouldn’t have taken this on if it wasn’t a healthy habit, but what motivates me more than getting back that #thighgap is not paying $9 to park downtown on the daily.

That’s really it. It’s not inspiring, but it’s true.

Along the way, of course, I’ve found countless benefits. I really can’t get over that sunrise. My legs are looking and feeling more like they did when I was an avid runner. I feel more awake on the days I bike, despite the 30 minutes of sleep I sacrifice, than when I drive. I don’t have to worry about keeping my sleepy eyes open while being on the highway. I get to spend more time outside, and less money on gas.

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Crazy yoga pants recommended for being seen by rush hour drivers

Biking has become a moving meditation for me, and is the rare quiet space I have throughout the day. It’s revived a creativity and thoughtfulness in me, hence why you’re ready this blog post.

Rather than focusing on the 180 degree changes you need to make, tap into what exactly you are unhappy with, and what healthy change you could make to fix just that. The life changing transformation you’ve heard so much about will unfold naturally, once you create the space for it.

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The Power of Intuition

Sunday night, I had a dream that I was talking to my mom and she said “Yeah, when your grandma and grandpa died…” I stopped her and asked her what she was talking about. She responded, “oh yeah, we didn’t tell you?” Dream-mom was very nonchalant. I was heartbroken that my grandma had passed away and that I didn’t know.

I woke up Monday morning thinking that was real, and could feel my tears as the alarm went off. Upon further review, I remembered I also had a dream that Maya (my dog) couldn’t go outside because there was a pack of wolves waiting for her. A few giraffes and elephants were also there, so I realized my dreams may not be super reliable.

Even so, I knew I needed to call my grandma. Monday morning, I made a mental note to ask my dad when the best time to call her was, because I always forget when she’s busy with dinner, bingo, or chair yoga at her assisted living place.

My mental notes need to be followed up by three physical notes and an alarm reminder. So I forgot to ask. Work got busy, and by Tuesday, it was off my radar. I knew I’d call soon, by my birthday at the latest (10 days away at the time). I was still thinking of that dream, but I thought I had more time.

Tuesday night, I was leaving my yoga studio when I saw a text from my dad that said, “Call me ASAP.” I panicked, and thought of my grandma. I spent the time leaving the parking lot thinking of what else it could be- maybe he doesn’t text enough to know that that language sounds urgent?

I couldn’t wait so I put him on speaker phone for my drive home. It was too late.

My dad told me that he had visited Grandma because her coffee maker needed to be replaced, and they went out to dinner. “She had Shrimp, now I wish she had lobster,” he said, attempting to laugh through both of our tears. Once they returned to her apartment, she sat down to catch her breath, and she let go.

From Monday morning to Tuesday evening, in 36 hours, I was too slow.

bevMy grandma was the type of person who I thought would live forever. Which sounds naive and cliche, especially because she wasn’t the person focused on superfoods and the health benefits of random plants. She gave off this invincible vibe because she was the least concerned about whatever ailment she was suffering from that day.

While staying at our house a few years ago, when her glaucoma was less severely hindering her eyesight, she said she could play cards with us if the lighting was brighter. So, my dad got out his headlight that he uses for hunting, and put it around her forehead.

“Yes, this is perfect,” she said, sitting at the kitchen table reviewing her Quiddler cards. She laughed with us, knowing it probably looked silly, but could not care less. She was the last person to allow an injury or illness to keep her from experiencing each day to its fullest.

Her Obituary captured her outlook and tenacity perfectly:

“Born during the Great Depression, coming of age during World War II, marrying her high school sweetheart in 1950, Bev could not have foreseen the adventures she would live.

In 1967, Bev and Jack moved their family to Katsina, Nigeria for two years. They fell in love with the place and the people, and returned to Nigeria in 1974 where they stayed for seven years. Her adventures there included coups, a civil war, friends that became family, and the opportunity to change young lives with her private pre-school that is still honored by the students who attended. In 1981, they moved to Botswana, where Bev again found a way to make a difference, as the administrative assistant to the director of USAID.

Their love affair with Africa never ended, but they eventually retired to Door County, Wisconsin in 1995, where their stories of life overseas never failed to entertain their grandchildren and friends.”

This weekend, we celebrate this beautiful and full life.

grandma_safari

I’ll celebrate with family, and the amazing community that has been created by the friends that became family.

We are so lucky.

I don’t think my dream was a coincidence, and I don’t think my grandma having lucid dreams of my grandpa the nights before was a coincidence.

Our intuition is so much more powerful than we often realize.

My grandparents always chose adventure, they chose happiness, chose family, and eventually, they chose to be reunited.

Now, we get to choose gratitude for the life and community they built. We choose to celebrate, to live bigger, love harder, laugh louder, just as she did