Where the rubber meets the road

Where the rubber meets the road.

“The most important point for something, the moment of truth. An athlete can train all day, but the race is where the rubber meets the road and they’ll know how good they really are.”-UsingEnglish.com

On average, according to all those studies the universities put on, women talk an average of 20,000 words a day…and men roughly 7,000. Before getting into this post I just have to say it: is it possible that us girls say 13,000 more words than guys a day?!?! (I’m kinda shy though…so maybe this is why this number gap is hard for me to fathom.) My basic point of these statistics is to simply point out: we talk an awfully lot.

As I was thinking about where the rubber meets the road kind of moments, I kept thinking about all of the hopes, dreams, ambitions I’ve shared with people. I’m gonna get my master’s degree…I’m gonna write a book…I’m gonna travel hear or there…etc. But it’s not just the big dreams or plans…it’s the little ones too: I’m gonna try a new look, I’m gonna loose weight, I’m gonna help out some good cause, I’m gonna call so-and-so because I haven’t talked to them in forever, I’m gonna fix up the mustang, I’m gonna talk to the cute guy that sits across from me on the subway, I’m gonna start running every morning…IT COULD BE ANYTHING. Anything you think you could, should, or might just want to try doing.

But realistically, how many of us actually get around to doing these things? How many of us just end up talking about doing them instead?

Where the rubber meets the road. The moment of truth.

NEVERUNDERESTIMATE the power of action.

At the end of the day, Words are just words…all 13,000-20,000 of them.

Action is what turns words into reality. 

Actions accomplish goals.

Actions will get you where you want to be.

Actions will make you a better person.

Actions will help you find the right person.

Actions will help you write your book.

Actions will help you get into a new career.

Actions will help you get healthy.

Actions are what dreams are made of.

Actions will make your dreams come true.

Don’t just talk about what you are going to do. Do it.

Let’s not be people with hopes and dreams and well…people who just end up with hopes that never happened or dreams that never came true. Let’s stop talking and get to work. Let’s put some action behind our words. Let’s accomplish things, let’s be someone who did something about their hopes and dreams….and all the little things.

Whatever that thing is that you’ve been talking about doing…just DO IT (stealing from Nike, I know).

 

 

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The Voice of the Office, story of inspiration

There are a lot of us who feel or realize maybe our job isn’t anything special– we aren’t preforming surgeries on a day to day basis that save lives, we aren’t flying jets, manning businesses that literally make the world go round. We are the people that maybe sit in an office or flip burgers, cut trees–whatever our occupation is, it isn’t quite our dream job and it doesn’t really feel like it is that big a deal to the world.


 

Her name was Bev, short for Beverly. She had been 25 for exactly 1 month. Twenty-five. A quarter of a century. Five years until thirty. Barely managing to cling onto being able to say, “I’m in my early twenties.” Bev was an average girl, with brown hair, blue eyes and freckles. Bev was also a girl who at one time believed she was going to be one of those people who change the world.

Bev stood in the small office of her job as of a week ago, glancing around the room.  The walls were made of giant bricks which had been painted the exact color of gray which brings to mind a day filled with endless rain. In the small room there were two windows draped with  sun-dyed green curtains, providing an excellent view of the dumpster below. She turned to face her desk where a phone, computer and key board sat, letting out a long sigh. The sigh of a person who realized life was no where near she imagined. The sign of a person who realized her dreams might not come true. She felt the tears rush in, threatening to spill out. She took a deep breath, holding her head slightly back attempting to somehow send the tears back where they came from. She inwardly reminded herself of how when she cried even just a couple drops her nose, eyes–face would be swollen and red as a beet for a the rest of the day. What if someone would stop by? Then she remembered her bosses’ words, “Yeah, at this job you’ll sooner see a cow walk through those doors than another person!”

Bev burst into tears, letting them spill freely down her cheeks.


Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Boom-boom. 

“You here it?” Bev’s Dad asked, his coppery colored eyes crinkling at the corners like they always did when he smiled.

Six-year old Bev nodded, her brown curls swishing. “What is that, Daddy?” Her blue eyes where wide with curiosity.

Her Dad touched the round, metal object pushing it along his chest.

Bev’s eyes got bigger. “Boom-boom, boom-boom….Daddy what is it?!” She clutched the tubes of the stethoscope which were lodged into her ears, trying to figure out where exactly the boom-boom was coming from.

Her Daddy smiled, eyes crinkling, dimples carving alongside the corners of his mouth. “That’s your Daddy’s heart beating,” he said softly.

Bev’s mouth dropped open as she stared at her Dad in stunned silence.

Boom-boom. Boom-boom. Boom-boom.

“That’s your heart, Daddy?”

He nodded.

Bev smiled, pushing the tubes deeper into her ears in an attempt to hear the beat better. Her eyes ran over the purple scars barely inching out of the neck of his button-up shirt. “That’s your new heart beating, Daddy isn’t it?”

Tears were touching his eyes, but she didn’t notice. “Mmmhmm.”

“I can tell it’s BIG and HAPPY–and it’s not gonna get tired like your last one. It’s strong– just like you, Daddy.”


 

Bev had wanted to be a doctor. Since the day she heard her Dad’s new heart beat, since the day she discovered how her Dad’s life had been saved by a heart transplant, since the day she received her first stethoscope, since for as long as she could remember. Bev wanted to save lives. Bev wanted to give people the gift her family had been given. Bev wanted to make a difference in the world.

And here she was sitting at a small office, her stethoscope buried in the back of her closet at home; buried under piles of bills, back luck, her Dad’s death, and the resentment and pain she felt from dropping out of medical school from grief.

What would her Dad think of her? She was working somewhere where she saw more walls than she saw people. Where her boss called her the “voice-literally” of the company because her duty was to manage the phone lines and any other form of communication, yet no one saw or would see her face.

She turned on her computer, and flung herself in the chair feeling hollow and missing her Dad more than ever.

She pulled up her personal email account, breathing heavily. Her eyes fixed onto the last email from him. The last email her dad had sent before he died. She let out a deep breath and clicked onto it, reading over words she had nearly memorized by now. He had spent the last two years before he died traveling, volunteering with mission groups that brought food and medical supplies to children. He had been at a remote village in the Amazon Basin, his email filled with the story of his struggle to communicate with the locals in the village. “After hand motions…talking louder and louder and slower and slower (why we do we automatically do that? Hah! NEVER, EVER WORKS but we still give it a go anyway)…the whole nine yards–The chief smiled. And I smiled. He laughed. I laughed. Smiling–it was just about the only thing we understood. I tell ya…if you wanna make a difference, make someone smile.

At the end he had put the quote, “Everyone smiles in the same language”-don’t you forget it, Love Dad =)

Bev read the quote again and again.  Could she ever really have an impact on someone’s life when her career involved practically zero human contact when it did not involve the phone or email?

She read it again.

smile

 

Bev logged out of her personal account and signed into the office email. As she was replying about a client’s question, she decided send out a smiley face next to her name. Before long, Bev decided to send out a smiley face with as much communication as possible, when appropriate. Whether it was through email or by her personal signature, she always sent out a little smile. She didn’t really think it would make a huge difference, but she felt like maybe she was at least sending a little happiness someone’s way.


 

Two years later…

Bev looked into the tiny office with it’s gray brick walls, sagging curtains, and old computer one last time, her heart swelling with happiness and sadness all at once. She had just learned what a difference that smile made. She received hundreds of calls, emails, gifts, and notes of gratitude from so many people she never even met. Hundreds of people had flooded her with gifts, memories of small conversations or shared laughs, saying they would miss “the girl who sent smiles”. Notes which said, “I will never forget the girl who made people smile.” “I know we never met, but we became friends, how amazing is that.” “Bev, you made me feel like I mattered,  you are an amazing young girl.”

Apparently that smile mattered to some people a lot, a lot more than Bev realized.

Today Bev is a cardiologist, making her dreams a reality, and signing her name with a smile.

Wherever you are you can touch someone else’s life. If you can brighten someone else’s day or make them laugh or smile, or complement them in some way, you are a world changer. Even if it was just for a moment, you made someone feel like they mattered or that they were special. We need more of that in the world.

Wherever you are…whoever you are…you can make a difference!

Happy Wednesday!

Boy meets girl 

Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl get married and live happily ever–boy and girl get a divorce. 

When I was in high school I knew a couple who were madly in love, Dean and Bobbie. They were that couple that made you believe fairy tale love complete with Princesses and Prince Charmings does exist. Both in their early twenties, Dean and Bobbie were successful, attractive, adventurous, and best friends. Even though every girl I knew secretly wanted to end up with Dean, we all knew he and Bobbie belonged together. They were soulmates. Anyone else would be wrong. 

In 2006 Dean and Bobbie had the most beautiful wedding and started their happily ever after. 

I went to college and only saw them occasionally over Winter and summer breaks. They were still madly in love, still living the fairy tale.

After I graduated I realized I hadn’t seen them in a good long time. What do you do when you haven’t seen someone in a while? You look them up on Facebook. When I pulled up the names I saw one thing: DIVORCED. 

I was STUNNED. They were so in love. They completed each other. There was a time when they couldn’t live without each other. WHAT HAPPENED? 

Love is the most powerful thing in the world. If so many people believe in this, why can’t it seem to last forever? 

Because we starve it. 

A general principle in life on keeping something alive, strong, healthy is that you have to take care of it. You have to feed it. Remember those gigga pet things (sorry about the spelling!)- the electronic pet that died if you forgot to feed it one time? Hah! But in all seriousness how many of us got our gigga pet with the determination and devotion that our pet would live forever? Anyone still have a “living” gigga pet? Case and point. 

I think we think and treat love as if it somehow is self sustaining. For years we never feed it, never give it nutrition and we wake up one day to find its just gone. 

What is the key to staying in love? Feed it. What does love thrive on? ROMANCE. 

Why is love dying? Because romance is dying. Romance doesn’t necessarily mean chocolates and hearts and poems. Romance is finding out how to make your mate feel like a million bucks. Not just once, not just twice…but for the rest of your life. 

You may say, “I suck at romance! I am just not a romantic person, I don’t even know where to start with being romantic!” 

Romance is something you can learn. And if you want love that lasts a lifetime, it’s something you’ve got to learn. 

   Love isn’t how much you say it. It’s how much you prove it true. 

 

A really great book I found a while back is 1,000 Ways To Be Romantic. Literally exactly what it sounds like. Another great read on learning romance is The Five Love Languages. everyone is different, including what ways make us feel loved. 

Just remember the key to romance is the other person. Find out what makes them feel special and what makes them feel loved. 

Happily ever afters still exist. They are hard work, but the best things in life rarely come easy! 

Cheers and best wishes to your happily ever after! 😊❤️ 
  

Never Underestimate the power of info-commercials

Never Underestimate the power of info-commercials.

Info-commercials. Those LONG, and I mean LONG commercials, featuring some rather outlandish gadget full of promise and sometimes the potential to change your life, a narrator which is on the verge of yelling due to feigned excitement, and a cluttering of the following phrases: BUT WAIT! There’s MORE!, TWO HUNDRED easy payments of $19.95, CALL NOW TO RECEIVE A SECOND…blah, blah.

info

You are probably thinking you are immune. Info-commercials have nothing on you. I mean the Snuggie, come on!?

Others of you who may know what I am talking about are probably nodding your heads, filling with regret at the memory.

I once thought I was immune. I once thought info-commercials had no power over me. But then…one day…

A short story of my personal experience of underestimating the power of the info-commercials:

It was late, and I had taken my little sister to the emergency room. We sat there in the hospital waiting area for…you know how it goes…forever. After picking through almost an entire stack of magazines, we were running out of ways to entertain ourselves.

Then it happens. A voice fills the air. A voice filled with excitement, so unlike all of us members of the waiting room who are in desperate need of sleep, medication, or coffee. The voice is coming from each of the four TVs placed at each corner of the room. Half of the people in the room all are suddenly drawn to the bright lights, the annoyingly energetic narrator, and the product that will revolutionize our lives.

The Brazilian Butt Lift. A workout promising a gorgeous, sculpted body– which with this convenient DVD pack could be achieved in a matter of 60 days. A workout specially and scientifically designed to maximize calorie burning, target “trouble areas” and designed….FOR YOU. BUT WAIT! (Oh, the magical words) this workout is FUN!

but-wait

I listened, at first just out of shear boredom, but then…I started to sit up straighter, my eyes began to focus again. At the time I was about 20-25 lbs. overweight. After dutifully running for miles and miles and hardly losing an ounce, I was frustrated. Suddenly a light seemed to come down, shining like a spot light on the TV and the words, “Brazilian Butt Lift”. 01-spotlight

THIS IS THE ANSWER, AUTUMN. THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR. Something inside of me whispered. Then came the testimonies of people who had lost 50, 60, 100, 200 lbs. from The Brazilian Butt Lift workout. The commercial went on and on at least for 30 minutes, featuring snippets of the workout and testimonials, deals and prices. Meanwhile my sister finally got called into the doctor’s office. So I was left there in the waiting room, vulnerable and alone…

As the rather hefty price for a set of DVDs played out again on the commercial, I fought with myself. Autumn, you can just go running, more running…you love running (NOT!).  Then another testimonial played, “I had 20 stubborn pounds I just could not lose, but after trying the Brazilian Butt Lift, the pounds melted off!”

THIS IS THE ANSWER, AUTUMN. THIS IS WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR.

I grabbed my phone and dialed the number.

Several days later, The Brazilian Butt Lift arrived.

To this day I have probably used it about 5 times. (And I just want to say, it wasn’t a bad workout and not saying that it couldn’t work, it…just…I don’t know-not for me! I ended up losing the weight from a strict diet and playing Ultimate Frisbee everyday! Ultimate Frisbee was actually, truthfully fun, which is why I was able to do it every single day!)

Never Underestimate the power of the info-commercial. No one is safe.

I would love to hear your stories of items you’ve bought online or through the TV in a moment of weakness? What did you think of them?

The Batman series is AMAZING. You know what makes this series so amazing? Alfred. 

Alfred has always been one of my favorite characters…he’s just kind of awesome.

Alfred is the butler, friend and unsung hero. Every hero…every person…needs an Alfred in their life-someone who will call us out, is fiercely loyal, inspires us or saves us from ourselves. 

I love quotes–I love the power a sentence or a phrase or a word can have…and how something so small can grip your heart or motivate you to action. This is one of those quotes that gives me chills! And is said by Alfred of course…


We all are going to fall. Falling is painful. Sometimes things get broken on the way down. Sometimes they get so broken we don’t even think we can get back up.

But no matter how bad the fall…GET UP. Don’t quit. GET UP. Don’t let the fall defeat you…use it to make you stronger.

Falling hurts but it also teaches us, prepares us, motivates us, and makes us stronger. 

Every superhero has fallen, failed or experienced defeat….but we still call them heroes. Why? Because when they fell they got back up. 

Thank you Alfred for your words of wisdom!

  

Change 

Change. 

It’s a word that makes me excited and strikes fear into my heart all at the same time. 

There’s lots of different types of change. I like to categorize them into four general groups.

The GOOD- This is the kind of change that all, any human welcomes eagerly. This change in life’s story involves something awesome happening that you’ve only dreamed of happening. And you embrace it, with all your heart. For example: You just won the lottery! 

The BAD- this change isn’t actually bad…it’s a great thing. Its change that is saving you from something bad–your saving grace. This second group of change is tough but it’s necessary. This type of change usually involves our willpower. We don’t eagerly accept it.  We fight through it because if we realize if we don’t change we are headed for disaster. Example: losing weight, getting out of a bad relationship, overcoming an addiction.

The UGLY- This type of change refers to situations in which we have no control over. It is thrust upon us without our choice.This change is usually very unexpected and often unpleasant (at first). Example: losing a job, getting bit by a super spider and becoming Spider-Man.

And then there’s that last category of change–the one the bulk of this post is about.

The CHOICE. This category of change is  when in life you find yourself facing a path which leads two, five, or seventeen different ways. Each one of them means change, you just have to decide which path to take. You know you can’t just stand there and not ever choose. These are the changes that you are in control of but often leave you with questions and the dreaded task of making a decision and sticking to it. This type of change involves taking a risk or a chance. And sometimes you don’t know how it will turn out. Haha! Can you guess which category of change I am facing right now!? 😉 

As I was thinking about change and making a decision, this thought hit me. 

What really makes a good life? 

You do. 

It’s not money or a perfect job or a house on the beach…you make your life good. It’s up to you. Even though I’d love all those things….I can still be happy without them. There’s nothing more dangerous than waiting for something to happen to live and fully enjoy life. You’ve got to choose happiness where you’re at, you’ve got to choose to make the most of your life now. If you live each day to its fullest–smiling, thankful, laughing, building good relationships, loving people, helping people, exploring, etc., no matter where life takes you…rich or poor, moving here or there…you will have a good life. There are so many things we have no control over in life, but what we do have control over is our attitudes and actions. 

What’s the point of all of this? 

Change happens. Sometimes it’s good sometimes it’s bad. Sometimes you have a say in the matter and sometimes you don’t. But no matter what change brings your way…you can always be in charge of how you face it or reacte to it.

Stay positive! Do good! Make people know they matter! Try your best! Be the best possible version of yourself! Enjoy the little things! If you’re doing that…no matter what path you take, what change you embrace…it will be okay!

The Shot

He lived for a sound. The sound of a leather ball dropping through a net.

Swoosh. 

It was the sound of perfection.

Johnny practiced every day, every chance he got. Black cracked asphalt, a ratty torn net, a backboard with chipping paint and splintering wood were his home, his safe place. He was the master here. When everything in his life was spinning, here it was still. He was in charge of that 10 foot basket, he controlled that ball.

Swoosh. 

The three point shot was his box of gold, his fountain of youth, his trophy, his blue ribbon. He had one focus, one goal. Swoosh. And he never missed.

2.34 seconds. The numbers glowed in the clock, a silent challenge; they were daring him. All he needed was one shot, one basket and he would bring the team to victory. All he needed to do was make the shot he never missed. He was the golden boy. Practically invincible on the courts. He stood waiting, ready for his teammates to get him the ball. He was in charge of that 10 foot basket, he controlled that ball.

The timer rang out, splitting the hot air. In a flash, the ball was in his hands. He aimed, time seemed to freeze. The basket suddenly looked unfamiliar, far away. It was no longer a 10 foot challenge, it had grown 20 feet, 30 feet over his head. The roar of the crowds sounded in his ears.

“Boo!” Someone screamed. “You’re not gonna make it!”

The basket now stood 50 feet over his head. The other team rushed towards him like a tidal wave, ready to consume him. Boom, boom–it was the sound of his heart pounding against his rib cage. Sweat dripped down the sides of his face. The ball suddenly felt foreign, as if he had just felt a basketball for the first time. The clock on the wall was merciless. He had to shoot.

The ball left his hands. The entire room held their breath as the it sailed through the air.

But he never heard that swoosh.

Johnny, the golden boy, had missed.

Back in the locker room Johnny confessed to his coach how in those last 2.34 seconds of the game the basket had grown taller and taller right before his eyes. How suddenly a ball that he knew like his own hand felt like nothing he had ever touched before.

“Why did I miss, Coach, why?” It was a feeling he’d never felt, It was a feeling he didn’t understand.

His coach gripped his shoulder and said, “Son, you didn’t see the basket anymore…you saw everything standing in the way.”

Do you have a dream? That one goal you’re determined to reach? You started off strong, believing you could reach your dream, nothing could stand in your way. And then something happened…you saw all of the obstacles. They were menacing beasts, telling you your dream was too far, too hard, unreachable….they told you were going to fail. And you believed them. Slowly, your dreams drifted farther and farther out of reach.

But, you know what…they weren’t actually out of reach…you just thought they were.

“When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, You do not change your decision to get there.” -Zig Ziglar 

Don’t give up. Don’t quit. Keep your eyes on the prize…not on everything standing in your way.