Take the Leap

It's Leap Day! February 29, 2012 has really been an ordinary day - but there are some extraordinary facets that have made it special. I started the day with an ordinary workout with some extraordinary women. In spin class, I found out that an acquaintance of mine is having a baby boy today! Neal came home briefly just after lunch and I found a long-lost picture that I'd been searching for - maybe for four years!

I haven't given Leap Day much thought or much meaning over the years. For instance, I can't tell you what I did last February 29. I do know that in February 2008, Scarlett Sweyer was born, I did a 5K in Myrtle Beach and George Clooney was a hot topic - isn't he always? In February of 2004, my bet is that I was helping ACE launch his own engineering firm and running my own Mary Kay business!

I suppose this leap year - coming on the heels of last year's big birthday - could be something significant. It could be seen as something like a new year - a bigger chunk than twelve months, but shorter than a decade. It's easy to make goals one year at a time. I've already made some big goals for 2012:  I am doing 12 events in 2012 - one for each month. I've planned a few fun triathlons (including a relay with my niece) and my first century ride (in the mountains!). 

In the days leading up to today, the thought actually crossed my mind: how will I define myself by next leap year? Where will the achievements of this year, put me in 2016?

The logical place for me to start: ONE WORD. If I were to choose one word for the next four years, it would be ARRANGE. By definition, arrange means to put in order, to make preparations, to plan. I'm pretty good at arranging. I love to put things in order. I LOVE to plan. So the word seems a no-brainer. But, there are two things that I love to do: write and coach. It seems that I'm not good at arranging my life to do those to things. I've been an amazing-jane-of-all-trades for years. I can juggle a cosmetic business, web design, coaching, newsletter editing, fundraising and event planning all in one day. It's what makes me a Gumbo Girl.

What if I dropped everything and arranged my day to write and coach? What if I said no to the things that don't fall into those categories? What if I chose to coach spin classes or triathletes or write blog entries or books or articles on spin classes and triathletes? What if I take that leap?

I'll keep you posted! Until then, take care.



Food Delivery

When I'm not training (or thinking about training), I am eating (or thinking about eating). My one word for 2010 was FUEL and although my intention for the word was more spiritual in nature, I found the obvious physical benefit: foods that fueled me!

A few years ago, my sister and I started GumboGirls - a foodie blog with our favorite foods and our favorite food stories. I know that Forrest Gump said life is like a box of chocolates, but Anna and I think that life is like a bowl of gumbo. Gumbo is a everything-but-the-kitchen-sink kind of meal. Plus, every time I make it, it's different. Like Forrest, you never know what you're gonna get. It starts with the roux (the foundation), a variety of ingredients (circumstantial twists and turns), spice (the people you know) and even secret ingredients (dare I say love and magic?).

This year, the Gumbo is simmering and so are a bunch of other recipes. Check us out for everyday dinner ideas to fuel you! Click on the okra below to check out today's recipe.


My One Word 2012

We are one month into a new year and time is already flying. I've set goals, celebrated successes, experienced a slump, been inspired, felt overwhelmed and snapped out of it.

As usual, my first order of business in the new year is to choose MY ONE WORD. My one word "is an experiment designed to move you beyond the past and look ahead. The challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. This process provides clarity by taking all of your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single thing. One word focuses on your character and creates a vision for your future.  It helps me do someting about one thing and instead of nothing about a lot of things."

My words in past years included RESOLVE, MATURITY, REFLECTION, HONOR and FUEL.  I often go into each word with my own intention - and I'm often surprised when the outcome is something different. For instance, RESOLVE (2007) was intended to be one of those things where I resolved to a stick-to-it-tiveness. A follow-through type of thing. In the end, I learned how to resolve some conflicts, made some life-changing decisions and re-solved some recurring problems.

The experiment is primarily focused on spiritual formation, but seeps into everything I do! In fact, as Mike Ashcraft explained it in this week's service, it's a lens not a promise. If I see every circumstance, challenge or success through the lens of MATURITY (2009), how does that change how I treat people or react in general?

So what is it this year? MY ONE WORD is STORY. It evolved from the words write, words and remember. Spiritually speaking, I want to know God's story. Relationally, I want to know your story. Personally, I want to tell and write a story. I realized about a month ago that when I know someone's story, I feel compassion, encouragement and love. If I know God's story, will I feel the same way about Him? Stories - the best ones - always seem to reveal redemption or character. If I know I'm redeemed or know God's story, won't that be the best story? If I know the full story, I can make better decisions. My intention is to discover how everyday stories that we create fit into the bigger picture. 

My scripture for this word is Deuteronomy 11:18-21 
18 Fix these words [this story] of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind hem on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.

So what's your story, Mornin' Glory?