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One year ago today, Bob and I walked into Flower City CrossFit and immediately felt completely overwhelmed. We didn’t know who to talk to, what to do, and we were confused as to why there were people laying flat on their backs and looking like they were in more pain that I have ever experienced in my life. I really wanted to turn around and walk back out that door.

Soon, Laura (the owner’s then fiance, now wife) noticed our shell-shock looks of horror and asked us if we were new and doing bootcamp (which FCCF uses as a “ramp up” time to CrossFit). I think we nodded and we were handed waivers to fill out. I really started to get nervous then. If I had to fill out a waiver to work out, what kind of place was this?

And then she walked us through the warm up movements (which we had to ask other people to show us multiple times afterwards because we were so nervous we didn’t pay attention) and then – bam. First CrossFit bootcamp.

I do remember Jeff telling us to pace ourselves so we didn’t die on our very first one. I died anyways. I was halfway through the first round and thought, “man, they don’t mess around here!”

Doing Overhead Squats (my least favorite!) at Barbells for Boobs in October

Doing Overhead Squats (my least favorite!) at Barbells for Boobs in October. (Photo taken by Laura Rice)

Since that day, I’ve learned quite a lot about CrossFit. I’ve fallen in love with the sport, with the people, with the community. I’ve learned a lot about myself, too. So I’d like to share with you a few things I’ve learned over the last year.

  1. There’s nothing I can’t do. I never thought I’d be able to do a handstand. I can. I didn’t think I could do more than 1 pushup “the real way”. I can now consistently do at least 40 – 45 before I have to scale. I didn’t think I would ever run faster than a 10 minute mile. The last 5k I ran I averaged 9:20.
  2. I am a morning person! I actually prefer to work out in the morning. I think it’s a combination of the people I work out with and the fact that I don’t have to “dread” it all day long. And I have more energy in the morning than at 5pm when I’m drained from work. Amazing discovery.
  3. A CrossFit WOD is a great analogy for life. Sometimes you rock, sometimes you suck, and sometimes you need someone to do it with you so you have the motivation to finish even if you’re the very last one still going. But you get through it. And even if you absolutely cannot finish, you know there will always be another one to tackle the next day. Sometimes life is awesome. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes you need to cling to your spouse, your friends, or your family for dear life so you can make it out alive. But you’re alive, and there’s always another day.
  4. I hate burpees.
  5. Strong is sexy. When I watch the women at our box, I am in constant awe. Of their pure strength, their determination, and of their muscles. I am never in awe of how skinny they are. I want to be like them because they’re strong, not because they’re size 0.
  6. I have come to love my thighs. I used to hate them. They’re big. But they’re becoming more muscle, and I’m in awe of the things they help me do, like finish a half marathon, or squat 200 times, or deadlift 185 pounds.
  7. In fact, I’m starting to love my entire body. I’m not sure I could have ever said that before.
  8. The community aspect at CrossFit is incredible. People I barely know have jumped in to help me finish a WOD, have cheered for me to keep going, and have encouraged me to try a heavier weight when I think I can’t. (See #1).
  9. Never compare yourself to others. In life, as well as in CrossFit. There will always be someone 10x faster, stronger, and fitter than you are. Just compare yourself today to yourself 3 months ago. Have YOU improved? You can’t control how you stack up against other people, but you can control being the best possible you. And that “you” will vary day to day, week to week. But be the best version of yourself at that moment that you possibly can.
  10. If you think you can’t do something, allow yourself to have 10 seconds and a deep breath. Then continue. There’s magic in a deep breath that somehow propels you forward. I’m not sure if it’s the realization that you’re delaying the inevitable, or if you really need a mental “step away”, but that moment of inhaling oxygen and exhaling fear gives me strength. I do this at work, at home, and, of course, at CrossFit.

Has my body changed in the last year? I don’t think very much. I’m more toned, I have slightly more definition, but I’m still at the same weight and size as I was a year ago. Has my confidence, mental toughness, strength, and determination changed in the last year? You bet.

I won’t say that CrossFit has changed my life, because that seems to be an exaggeration. I’ve found a community of like-minded people who I can’t wait to work out with in the morning. I’ve found a better way to eat to fuel my body so I have more energy. Our marriage is definitely better than it’s ever been. So while it hasn’t changed my life, I certainly love who I am becoming because of those lessons. And I’m so glad I didn’t turn around and walk out that door of my very first day of bootcamp.

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For others, there was something to the image of themselves itself that was protective: being overweight or sick was part of how they had defined their lives. For many, it could even be negative self-talk related to current stresses and circumstances.

That quote is from this article by Mark Sisson about a week ago on his website. The article is about the emotional aspect of weight loss, and the context for that quote is around psychological aspects that may sabotage weight loss. The part of that quote that sticks out to me is the idea that being overweight is a part of the way one defines their life. And it’s true for me. And I think that’s why I’ve been struggling recently with my body image.

I have been fat my whole life. I’ve talked about that before in this blog, and I don’t want to dwell on it, but anyone who has grown up being the fattest kid in class, or always above the norm, knows that it becomes part of who you are. It defines you. If you grew up an average weight and recently gained weight, or maybe you’ve never struggled with your weight, I don’t think you completely understand how it defines you. If someone is trying to point you out in a crowd to someone else, usually terms like “the big guy”, or “the fat one”, or “the larger fellow” are used to identify you. You just get used to fat, overweight, obese, big, large, or other synonyms being a common adjective when being used to describe you.

I’m not blaming other people, or being negative about this – I’m just describing it. It just becomes part of who you are. And you can fight it, or you can embrace it. People who fight it get offended when other people bring up their weight. If you fight it you have to face it head on, and feel that conflict. But if you embrace it, if you let it become part of who you are, and if you even contribute to it – then it feels easier. There’s less conflict. Less direct guilt or shame. The indirect and subconscious aspects are still damaging, but you don’t have to confront those every day.

I chose to embrace it – I even championed it! Instead of letting it get me down, I actively participated in making it a part of who I was. That way if people made fun of me, it didn’t bother me. And why hide from the truth? I didn’t want to be in denial – I was obese. I weighed as much as 300 pounds. Instead of feeling ashamed or embarrassed (outwardly) I instead made it not a choice, but a part of my personality. I would be the first one to crack a joke about my weight, or to draw attention to it, so that others wouldn’t beat me to the punch. And it doesn’t hurt as bad if you say it, compared to when someone else says it.

Just an example of how I responded to my obesity: the Summer after college I broke a chair at a local pub because of my weight, but instead of acting embarassed I laughed about it and had someone take a picture of me in my broken chair.

Just an example of how I responded to my obesity: the Summer after college I broke a chair at a local pub because of my weight, but instead of acting embarrassed, I laughed about it and had someone take a picture of me in my broken chair.

I made my own nickname Big Bob. Most of my screen names/usernames etc. somehow play on my weight. My first e-mail address was bigbob@ the e-mail carrier. My first screen name was bigbob22 for AOL. Even now one of the e-mail addresses I use is bigandbob@ the e-mail carrier. I embraced that part of my identity so vigorously that it still surrounds me today. That is where the name of this blog came from – I am so used to being Big Bob, and I still use it every day when signing in to e-mail or other online accounts. But I’m not as big, hence the “(Not As) Big Bob” title.

But losing the “Big” portion of “Big Bob” is actually very difficult for me. I have associated myself with it for so long, that it really is part of who I am. When we were watching The Biggest Loser yesterday one of the contestants joked about not getting between fat people and food, and I immediately related to that statement, before I realized that I can’t relate anymore! That used to be something I would say all the time, and now I can’t say it anymore. And as a side note: it doesn’t apply anymore either not only because of my weight, but also because food doesn’t have the power over me it used to.

Maybe this is hitting me more than others who have lost a significant amount of weight because I embraced my obesity so strongly. Because in some areas I actually took pride in my size – I did feel safer being bigger because I felt like I was stronger. I felt like people wouldn’t mess with me as often because I had size. I hit harder on the football field because I could put my weight behind it. I joked about it, and yes, I was absolutely embarrassed by it, but paradoxically it was a source of pride and comfort too.

I think what I am trying to say is, being fat wasn’t just a physical part of me, but it truly was a part of who I was psychologically. Not to be dramatic, but in a quite literal sense I am going through an identity crisis. I am rewriting an entire part of who I am. And it’s really scary for me. If people aren’t going to describe me as “the big guy” as their first adjective, how are they going to describe me? If I’m not “Big Bob”, then what is the adjective you’re going to put before my name? I felt like I could control people’s outward impressions of me when I was fat – and I felt more secure marrying my identity to my weight. But now what do I hitch my identity to? What is my defining characteristic?

Mark includes this quote toward the end of his article:

After a major weight loss or health change, some people continue to live with a distorted view of themselves. Even if you’re loving the transformation, it can be worth the effort to envision the future.
My view of myself is less distorted now than it used to be, but it’s still distorted. I still picture myself as bigger than I am. Some parts of my psyche still want me to be big. I am “loving the transformation,” but envisioning the future is scary for me right now. I know I need to let go of this part of who I am, but I’m just not sure I’m ready to yet.
 
He ends the post with:

The road to health and weight loss obliges a degree of striving. (Although a Primal life of bacon and leisurely bike rides isn’t such a hard existence really…) However, the process sometimes calls us to shed other things along the way – the self-talk as well as habits, the self-image as well as diet that just don’t work for us anymore (and in truth never did). In this sense, it’s about surrender as well as striving. We strive for a better, healthier life, but it’s important to ask ourselves what we need to let go of in the journey.

And that’s where I’ll end my reflections. With the directive he gives, but I have been unable to completely follow so far: “it’s important to ask ourselves what we need to let go of in the journey.”

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So, I complained a lot about the unrealistic expectations that the Biggest Loser sets up for people who are trying to lose weight. And I still stand by that.

But last week when I was watching the episode where the contestants run a 5k, I found myself tearing up at the end and proclaiming, “I love this show.”

I will admit, it is inspiring. The Biggest Loser, ultimately, is about people doing things they never thought they could do. When you watch people cross the finish line of a 5k race, people who could barely run on the treadmill at the beginning of the show for 5 minutes, you can’t help but think, “If they can do this, certainly I can!”  And apparently, you also can’t help but cry!

I cried because I was reminded of my own journey. When I started Couch to 5k and could barely run 30 seconds without getting a cramp or wanting to puke. The first time I ran 20 minutes straight and felt I had conquered the world.  When I finished my very first 5k and couldn’t believe that I ran the entire 31 minutes — and that I hadn’t finished in last place!  When I first ran 6 miles and was amazed at myself and wanted to dance right in the middle of the Erie Canal path. When I hit my goal weight after nearly a year of changing my lifestyle. When I crossed the finish line at my first half marathon, a year and a day after completing my first 5k, half sobbing, half laughing, overcome with emotion. Because I never thought I could. But I did.

half marathon finish

Crossing the finish line in September. Half marathon time is on the left. Photo from MVP Marathon FB page.

I love The Biggest Loser because it shows people that if they work hard enough, if they are dedicated and disciplined, they can accomplish things they didn’t know they were even capable of.  Like running at 5k. Like losing 150 pounds. Like choosing healthy food over junk food. I love the Biggest Loser because it DOES inspire America. Because it highlights stories of people doing things they never thought they could.

These types of stories are probably the source of my greatest inspiration.  Certainly Bob is an incredible inspiration to me. The fact that he hasn’t given up, that he’s worked so hard to lose over 100 pounds, gets me out of bed in the morning (most times) when I go to CrossFit. I see him leave the house at 4:30am and I think to myself, “This is the man who didn’t like to go on walks with me when we first got married because he would get tired after 10 minutes.”

But other people are an inspiration to me as well. Read this story about Anne Burns who goes to our CrossFit box. She’s incredible.  Bob and I joke sometimes that she’s a robot because of how consistently high her scores are every day in Wodify. I might have a slight girl crush on her. (maybe that should go in my “confessions” post next time…).  Read this story about Justin Willoughby, a guy from my hometown who lost 600(!!!!!) pounds and is now a personal trainer.

These are ordinary, average, normal people who are doing extraordinary things.  And there are hundreds, thousands more of them out there.

Who has inspired you to be healthy? 

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This Saturday I competed in my first ever CrossFit competition. Before you get too impressed, you should know that I was in the team division, which was designed for the “beginner CrossFitter.” So I wasn’t competing in the Open division, where guys and gals from our gym had to do things like establishing a one rep snatch max in less than 3 minutes, chest to bar pull ups, and squats while holding a 95 pound atlas stone.

No, none of those things were on the list for the team WOD, and honestly I won’t get into all of the specifics on the movements themselves, because it would take an entire post just to explain them all (they were almost all new and interesting variations on existing movements and had to be explained in detail before we started), and I don’t want to bore you. All you need to know is that for pretty much all of the movements my partner and I had to take turns doing the exercises and our total score was based on the total number of reps she and I were able to do in the two different 8 minute blocks of time (separated by 1 block of rest lasting 2 minutes).

I can't even begin to explain what this exercise was - just know that it sucked!

I can’t even begin to explain what this exercise was – just know that it sucked!

I’m starting to learn that in these types of competitions there seems to be less of an emphasis on where you placed compared to others, but more on where you place against your own expectations. That being said, I was proud and surprised that we finishd in 8th place out of the 16 teams. My goal going into the competition was to keep working and to not stop moving, and not to take any breaks if I could avoid it (other than those built in, obviously). And I succeeded at that goal. I came close to stopping twice, but I was able to keep pushing and keep moving, and so I’m proud of my accomplishment.

This type of competition was new to me. First, growing up and up until a few years ago I only ever played pick up games or “backyard” versions of team sports. Sure, I played some basketball in elementary school on an organized team, but nothing after middle school. So it was a new experience for me, to be at any competition environment where people are watching me compete. Seocnd, lately I’ve been in a floor hockey league and a men’s flag football league, but the crowds at those events (usually can be measured in the teens or less) pale in comparison to how many spectators were at this event this weekend. I have no idea how many spectators were there, but it was a lot. They were standing 3-4 people deep along the entire rope that separated the competition area, and filled the bleachers at the end. It was a really cool experience. Finally, this was the first time I’ve competed in something where I was 1 of only 2 people for my team – I’m used to basketball with 4 other people sharing the court wearing the same color, or hockey where in our league at the Y we play 4 on 4 with a sub, or football where the offensive line alone has more teammates than what I had on Saturday. There was no hiding – not from my teammate, not from the spectators, and more importantly: not from myself.

This was the "box scale" where your partner and you had to get up and over 48" of boxes as many times as possible in 1 minute. You can tell how graceful I was. . .(read: not at all)

This was the “box scale” where your partner and you had to get up and over 48″ of boxes as many times as possible in 1 minute. You can tell how graceful I was. . .(read: not at all)

And that’s the funniest thing that I realize when I reflect on Saturday’s competition. All I remember from when I was actually competing is doing the movements with my partner. I remember how tired I felt, how my legs burned during the deadlifts, how it felt when I banged my knees against the boxes as I tried to scale them, how tired my arms felt holding the 40# slam ball over my head, how my partner encouraged me, how I encouraged her, how I pushed her to finish one of the events, and how she didn’t let up and kept me moving. I remember digging deep in myself to keep moving, I remember wanting to stop but choosing to keep going. I remember how I felt during the 2 minute rest period that I was half way done, and how good I felt knowing I had already conquered half of it. I remember doing the last part of the event and knowing that I was just about to finish something that I would have never dreamed possible a year beforehand.

I remember nothing of the crowd, or the other competitors, and almost nothing of the judges other than making sure my reps counted. Meg and my mom and dad were there watching, and I’m sure they were cheering for me, but I don’t remember any of it. The only thing I remember is one friend yelling at me to keep my back straight as I started to round it during the deadlifts.

My partner and I doing our kettlebell deadlifts. This was before I started rounding my back (very bad).

My partner and I doing our kettlebell deadlifts. This was before I started rounding my back (very bad).

And that’s an interesting reflection that I have been dwelling on the last two days. I had a lot of fun at the competition. It was hard, I was exhausted afterward, and I’m still a little sore two days later. But it really pushed me in a way that I don’t think I have been pushed before. It was one of the only times I can remember where I was fully present, fully in the moment, not being distracted by anything around me, not thinking about my future, not dwelling on my past, but just being. It is the only time I can think of where I was so focused on one thing that hundreds of shouting voices were drowned out to silence. It was a surreal experience.

So, that was my first ever CrossFit competition. I sit here today vowing that it will not be my last. I had too much fun, and it was too great of an experience. I imagine that I’ll stay in the team format though – as I’ve mentioned before: I’m a team sports guy. I just enjoy them more. Furthermore, I’m not sure I’ll ever be at the level where I could compete in an Open format. I’m not saying I couldn’t train to a point where I could compete in that division, I’m just not sure that is where my goals are in terms of my fitness. But who knows – two years ago I would have had trouble doing a single one of the 8 different movements I did on Saturday. Who knows where I will be two years from today.

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Because I have a super cute puppy on my lap, I will keep this brief!

IMAG0480

Here’s what we are eating this week:

  • Today: Leftover squash soup my mother-in-law brought up with her yesterday (yum!) with some grilled Trader Joes chicken sausages & peppers and onions
  • Monday: Burgers! I have wanted a good burger for at least a week. So on Monday of last week I put burgers on the menu for this week. I’m going to make some sweet potato fries on the side (cut sweet potatoes into fry-size pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic, and bake at 450 for a half hour — flipping the fries halfway through) and some roasted brussels sprouts. And top the burgers with sauteed mushrooms. Yum.
  • Tuesday: Brazilian Seafood Stew. Cannot WAIT to eat this again. Over cauliflower rice.

shrimp stew

  • Wednesday: This soup but adding in browned venison sausage after it’s been blended
  • Thursday: Salmon salad (last week’s was so good I want it again!)

salmon salad

  • Friday: Leftovers/ wing it with whatever is in the freezer/pantry
  • Saturday: Leftovers/ wing it — we need to eat up all the food in the house because we will be leaving for vacation after the Super Bowl!

And since I know you’re REALLY dying to know what the Paleo approved mug cake is…

Liz, a friend of mine from CrossFit, told me about this amazing dessert and Bob has been making it the last several nights while I have been eating non-Paleo alternatives. Follow the link to get the directions. Just a few tips: Bob’s been adding raisins, shredded unsweetened coconut, and/or nuts to it as well. I personally think it would be delicious with chocolate chips, but of course that’s not Paleo. I topped mine with whipped cream last night (also not Paleo). I also used PB2 instead of almond butter and it was slightly drier than the original version — but the whipped cream moistened it right up.

IMAG0482

Enjoy when those sugar cravings hit!

Off to watch the last episode of Last Resort. Anyone else watch it? We’re so bummed they cancelled the show!!

 

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Sports!

I love sports. I have always loved sports – even when I was out of shape and was quickly out of breath. Maybe it’s just my competitive nature, but as long as I can remember I have been playing some form of sports.

And I think that’s true for most of us – even if you are not an overly competitive person, it seems like playing sports is part of almost everyone’s childhood. Even if you didn’t play for your school team (I never played for my school teams), but just backyard football, or driveway basketball, or a pick up game of ultimate frisbee, it seems like most of us used to play sports.

So, that begs the question, why aren’t you playing sports anymore?

Maybe you’re too busy, or maybe you have some injuries, or maybe you just haven’t thought about it. But I am going to challenge you to start a sport this year. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, if it’s team or individual, if it’s indoor or outdoor. Just find something you love, do some research, and start playing again!

You could always join a floor hockey league!

You could always join a floor hockey league!

I think there are a ton of advantages to playing sports. Mark Sisson had a great article a while ago on the benefits of playing sports, and I think you should read it. Basically, one of his major tenets in the “Primal Lifestyle” is to play. Not sports, per se, but just to play. To have fun. To do something physical that is also enjoyable. Physical fitness is not just running on an elliptical (in fact I would argue it’s almost never running on an elliptical, but that’s beside the point), but it also includes playing, running, laughing, competing, and having fun.

So, what should you do? Figure out what you a) can do, b) want to do, and c) what is available, and then do it! Finding what you can do is important, because maybe you love basketball but your knees are in really rough shape. Maybe you should reconsider the pounding they’ll take on the hardwoods, and opt for water polo instead. Finding what you want to do is equally important though – because you have to stick with whatever you do! I am a team sports guy, personally. Individual competitions hold very little value to me, so if I decided to pick up skiing as a sport, it would be a poor choice, because I won’t enjoy it enough to continue it (besides – it’s COLD out there!). And finally, find what is available to you. There are a lot of adult leagues around, if you just know where to look. Check out your local YMCA. Do a Google search. Ask local churches or other community centers. You know you can find it if it’s important enough to you to actually look.

Floor Hockey 2

So, why should you do it? To have fun. To give your fitness a new aspect. For me, I started my fitness journey because of Meg and the decision we made together. But one of the first ways I found motivation and encouragement was through my flag football league. I found as I started dropping weight that I was getting faster – and I found that my endurance was increasing. I found that as I was working out, and I wanted to stop on the elliptical (this was my globo-gym days), that I would envision myself still running and hustling in the fourth quarter. And that gave me the motivation to push hard for another 5 minutes on the elliptical. Or to bang out one more set while weight training. Sports gives a whole new aspect to motivate you toward your fitness journey.

Floor Hockey 4

I have also found that (at least for my team sports) there is a lot of camaraderie around sports. As you know, fitness is inherently social, and what better way to bring this to the forefront of your consciousness than to join a team? Your fitness directly impacts and (hopefully) benefits other people. Your hustle and the work you put into it immediately and tangibly helps your teammates. You may not think in those terms as you break away for the outlet pass on a fast break – but that’s what you’re doing! You’re exercising hard so that your teammates can succeed.

Finally, I find that when I compete in sports I push myself harder than I would otherwise. I don’t like to admit to myself that I ever leave anything in the tank when I perform a CrossFit WOD, but the fact of the matter is I always feel slightly more exhausted, slightly more out of breath, and slightly more fatigued after completing a WOD as a member of a team. On Saturdays at Flower City CrossFit is always a team WOD, where your teammates depend on you and you on them, and I always get the best workout of the week on Saturday mornings. Coincidence? Hardly.

And a bonus when you compete in sports: the sweet, sweet taste of victory!

And a bonus when you compete in sports: the sweet, sweet taste of victory!

Tomorrow I will be competing in my first ever CrossFit competition. I never thought I would compete in the sport of CrossFit, but that changes in less than 24 hours. And what division will I be in? The team division, naturally. I don’t think I’ll ever compete on the individual side, but that’s not where my interests lie. I’ve always loved team sports. But what about you? What sports do you love? And if you’re a team sports person, why aren’t you doing them? If you’re more of an indvidual competitor, that’s fine too – but why aren’t you doing those?

And if you’re a male in the Rochester area who likes floor hockey, I might know of a league that has registration open this Fall!

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I am obsessed with this cucumber salad we’ve been making the last week or so. Most people want warm foods when it’s this cold outside (it’s 14 degrees today in Rochester!) but I am craving fresh, crisp, brightly tasting vegetables. Hence, a red onion/cucumber salad.

cucumbers

This is really easy, and uses very few ingredients. That’s my kind of recipe. It’s better if you let it sit overnight, I promise, so try to hold off on eating all of it until the following day. Confession: the first time we made this I had over half of the recipe within an hour of making it. Then I was jealous of Bob because he exercised self-control and waited to eat until the next day and he told me it was so much better. People with self control. They’re no fun.

Here’s what you need:

  • Half of a red onion, finely diced
  • 2 long (or 3 short) cucumbers, thinly sliced (I’ve been buying seedless)
  • Fresh dill (about 1/4 cup) chopped finely
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar (you can use another type, probably, I just like this type the best)
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste (my very accurate measurement was 5 shakes of each shaker)

Here’s what you do:

Dump all ingredients in a container with a lid so you can let it sit overnight.  Try not to eat all of it at once. If it doesn’t taste right, add more pepper. It livens it right up.

See? Promised it was easy! 🙂 Make it tonight. You won’t be disappointed.

Onto some random thoughts for today.  I think working at a college is the best thing ever. I think this because students are still half children so they dream big dreams and want to do great things. They remind me of when I was in college and I wasn’t disillusioned by the “working world” yet.  When I was in college, I had grand plans of saving the world through marketing. I wanted to make a difference, to change lives, to make our earth a slightly better place to live. When I got my first job, I quickly realized that I wasn’t changing anyone’s lives by scheduling media buys and figuring out which websites to place banner ads on for clients.

grad day

Graduation Day, May ’07 — Ready to take on the world!

But now I have come full circle, and I believe I am actually making a difference through marketing.  I’m helping bring students to this wonderful place where they can imagine that everything is possible and go out into the world and do wonderful things. I feel like I’m a very small part of every student’s journey here.  I feel so inspired when I hear all of the really neat things students are doing through coursework, through serving others, and through discovering their passions.  It’s incredible to watch that happen.

So on days that I get bogged down into meetings and things not going as fast as I want and feeling overwhelmed because EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE FIXED RIGHT NOW, I try to remind myself that I get to be a part of an incredible institution that changes lives, which means by default, I’m changing lives. I’m living out the grand plans I had for myself 10 years ago and I’m a believer that these students can, too.

Whew. Sorry to be so sappy. Let’s cut the sappiness by sending you out into the cold evening with two of my new favorite websites. You’ll thank me later when you’re laughing so hard you’re crying and you’re sending these to your friends. http://whatshouldwecallme.tumblr.com/ and http://myfriendsaremarried.tumblr.com/

Stay warm out there! And eat cold cucumber salad!

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