15 Minutes

You can do anything for 15 minutes.

I used to love this idea. At the time, I was trying to get my home and my “stuff” under control. We had a lot of stuff and it was hard to wrap my head around sorting through it all. But 15 minutes at a time? I could do it 15 minutes at a time.

Fast forward to today. I still have clutter – as long as I’m living that will probably be the case – but it’s mainly under control. So my 15 minutes these days is being applied to something else. I have gotten out of the habit of exercise, out of the habit of getting moving. I keep meaning to. I’ve bought the shoes. I have the clothes. But whenever I think about getting off the couch and getting outside to do anything, it seemed like too much time and effort was needed to make a difference.

Jon Acuff reminded me about the idea of 15 minutes. That something done just 15 minutes a day can make a big difference over time. He does a challenge of sorts each summer – choose 1 thing and commit to practicing/doing it for at least 15 minutes a day. When I saw the challenge I thought, “I can do this. I can go for a walk for 15 minutes a day. Or do a short body-weight workout. Yup. I can do this.” So I printed the checklist and here we are, 4 days in, and even with a day off because of some physical ailments, I’ve already crossed off 8 squares on that chart of 100 squares. That’s more exercise in 4 days than I have had in weeks. I’m pretty happy with that!

Jon said to pick one thing. Because I like to buck the “rules” a bit sometimes and I like to go above and beyond, I added another “something” to my 15 minutes challenge – writing. Simple things. Deep things. Fun things. Regular life things. Just write. Some days that is going to mean a blog post. Other days it’s just going to be me writing in a notebook or on a piece of paper. I want it to become a habit again rather than just something I do randomly. And I can do anything for 15 minutes!

15 minutes. 25 hours. It adds up. I can’t wait to see the results of those 15 minutes when the summer is over! I’ll try to share my progress here weekly – on Mondays. Should be interesting…..

Want more information about the DO SUMMER challenge? Check it out here!

Tough Mothers Get It DONE!

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The Tough Mothers – Getting our game faces on!

Talk about a rag tag bunch of women! We ranged in age from early 20’s to mid-50’s. Nurses. Teachers. Office workers. Stay-at-home-moms. Retirees. Some were related to each other. Others were life-long friends. Still others were total strangers. Most of us hadn’t seen the inside of a gym in longer than we cared to admit. All of us (except 1) mothers.

Who were we? We were the TOUGH MOTHERS!! And why did we come together? Because we were doing the 5K Foam Fest – a 5 Km “run” with obstacles that has one purpose: HAVE FUN!!

This past Saturday this group of women gathered at the base of a mountain to embark on a journey. We were decked out in our team tank tops, fun hot pink accessories and filled with a TON of enthusiasm! What we lacked in terms of physical fitness we made up for with tons of heart and excitement! We were determined to enjoy ourselves or die trying!

It took our group of 13 women 2 hours to complete the 5 Km course. The course took us up some big hills – LONG, STEEP, UNENDING hills! – and down again. Through mud so deep we sank nearly to our hips (I will never forget the sucking sound we heard at one point as 1 pulled herself out!). We encountered rope spider webs, walls, slippy slides, foam pits, rope climbs, death drops, water pits, mud….Did I mention the mud???!!

We started out as strangers but it wasn’t long until we were each other’s greatest support. Some of us were not so sure about getting dirty. Others were afraid of heights. One was diabetic (still is…:P). Some were feeling depleted in the self-esteem department. Others just needed a helping hand and an encouraging word. I think it’s safe to say that those 2 hours changed all of us.

For myself, this race was a way for me to say “Don’t count me out!” “I can do anything I put my mind to.” “Life, and the ability to have fun, doesn’t end just because you have kids or turn 40.” “I AM STILL HERE even if I don’t look or feel like me these days.” It was a way
to face some of my own fears and remind myself that, even though I have lost a little of who I am in the last couple of years, I’m still there. I am still Bad Ass. 😉

Looking back, I can’t help but see the correlation between the experiences on that race and life. Life comes with mountains and valleys. It comes with obstacles we need to overcome, face down, get through. It comes with moments of wonder – like when we all stood on that path, looking down the mountain at 3 young fox playing in the grass with their mom – and moments of despair (like when I realized that there was yet ONE MORE HILL to climb when I was so done with climbing). It comes with moments of power and moments of paralzying fear. We have times in our lives when we are strong and fit, able to meet the obstacles before us with confidence, not hesitating for a moment and cheering on those around us. There are other times when we need help, when the hills are becoming more than we can do on our own, when the obstacles are too high, too scary, when we need the help and encouragement from others around us.

It was a really beautiful experience to do this race with these women and experience the help, the encouragement, the support, the carrying of each other’s burdens. We were in this together. “NO MOTHER LEFT BEHIND” was our motto. When we had to go around an obstacle for whatever reason there was never any judgement. We helped each other over, under and through each obstacle. And we had great fun in the process.

I’m taking lessons from this into my every day. I need to take more risks (I did the Death Drop slide and lived to tell the tale!!). I need to get into the gym! I need to stop worrying about what others think. I need to remember that I have a great tribe of women around me willing and able to support and encourage me if I will allow them to (means letting them know when I need it). I need to remember that my tribe also needs me to support and encourage THEM when I can see they need it, without having to be asked. I need to remember that often the worst that can happen is that I don’t try. But most of all I need to remember that without others involved and included in this journey I call “my life”, I cannot and will not succeed. If not for the encouragement of the team, I would have quit on that course – those hills were almost more than I could manage. But because of them, I kept going – I couldn’t let them down and they were cheering me on. Life is just like that.

Tough Mothers. Foam Fest. One of those moments in life that I will NEVER forget.

Thanks, Ladies, for a weekend to remember.

A Victim’s Response

We’ve all seen the news. We’ve all had reactions of one type or another to the news that a boy/man who raped an unconscious woman only got 6 months of jail time, with a possible early release if he behaves himself. There has been a lot of press covering who he is, what he’s done in life and the occasion that has brought him to the forefront of media attention. But we need to remember that there was someone else there. There was a woman. A woman with her whole life ahead of her. A life that will never be the same again. He will go to jail, serve his time, likely get out for good behavior and then carry on with life. He may face some discomfort but I am sure that Daddy’s money and influence will pave the way to success for him as if nothing had happened. But the same cannot be said for her…..I would know. I’ve walked a similar road. I’ve linked to her statement in full – I encourage you to read it. Trust me. It will be very hard to read. But you need to. Why? Because it’s the same statement many women around the world could make every. single. day. Don’t be fooled. Reporting rates don’t even BEGIN to tell the true story – for every report there are many that go unreported. I would know. I was one of those.

Circumstances were different but the feelings are the same and it took me YEARS to overcome them. YEARS. I can barely read her words because it makes my own experience come back to mind with a vengeance but I SO wish someone had shared with me that I mattered, that my story mattered, that my CONSENT mattered. Maybe then I wouldn’t have engaged in behaviors that harmed me later on, maybe I would have recognized the red flags of abuse in future relationships, maybe…..maybe I would have known my true worth as a HUMAN long before my 35th birthday. It took 20 years to get to that place after all was said and done….20 years and more energy,courage and strength than I knew one person could possess. The fact that this kid only got 6 months for his CRIME is abhorrent to me and is should be to everyone everywhere. Where is the accountability? When did the punishment stop fitting the crime? When did being unconscious downgrade the seriousness of an attack? When did this world become so fucked up as to allow for this kind of injustice??? And how on earth do we turn a blind eye to it?

Does this topic make you uncomfortable? Do you want it to go away? Yea, me too. I don’t enjoy talking about what happened to me or the repercussions of it. Reading this woman’s words makes me sick to my stomach. Sick and angry. So very very angry. It makes me so angry that she was made to feel like she didn’t matter, like her story didn’t matter, like she must have done something to deserve his actions, that she was somehow responsible for his choices. But her words also made me cry as I read her declaration to women, girls, everywhere:

…to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining. Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.

Maybe, just maybe, had I had someone telling me the same thing before my assault and living out the truth of that afterwards, maybe things would have been different. I can’t go back there but I can change how things are for others in the same circumstances. I can teach my kids to respect others, to stand up for others, and that their voice matters. I can tell my story so that others know they aren’t alone. I can support organizations and ministries that work to help victims of sexual exploitation and assault. So can you.

You can read her statement here: Sexual Assault Victim Impact Statement

I also need to speak to abusers, to rapists, to those condoning their actions by inaction & victim-blaming. There is help for you. There is hope for you. But more importantly than that there is forgiveness. Do your actions and attitudes anger me? Absolutely. Rightly so. But you do not have to continue identifying with those things. You can change. My prayer is that somehow, someway, you will see the error of your ways and will seek help, will seek forgiveness and will do whatever you can to redeem your past. Just as there are groups for victims of assault, rape & abuse, there are groups for the perpetrators of the same. Please find one today.