Happiness: Care to Share?

Do you ever need a kick start to write a post? You want to write something profound but days go by and you’re in a funk.
I’ve been there and it’s a weird place to be. I usually have SO much to say and the longer it takes, the harder it is to find that perfect topic.

How about this?

I invite you to write a post on something that makes you happy.
Whether it’s a person, place, animal, music, book, song, experience, food … You name it. Add photos if you want or make a video or just use your words.

After you write and publish your “Happy” post, let me know and we can link to each other.

Now that I’ve made your day a bit easier, let’s get started.
Oh – and feel free to post about this all week long if the spirit moves you!

After you write your Happiness post- why not send the link to 5 people in your circle who don’t know about your blog? I know that might be a bit out of your comfort zone but it could be your gift to them. That link might make them really happy!

I have tons of things I can write about so keep checking back, ok?

Shall we?

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No Comfort Zone Weekly Challenge Updates (Week 17!)

no comfort zone badgeIf you are some of the gusty people who signed up for the NO Comfort Weekly Challenge, I hope you are still finding things that push you to new environments, encourage you to ask different questions, move you to do or say or go places you’ve never been.

Below are comments from some of you that have accepted the challenge and have blogged about it.

And so–the No Comfort Zone has really become the story of my life this year. All the places I’ve sought comfort: being a good mom, taking care of others, eating delicious food, seeing a ‘good’ figure in the mirror–the list could go on–all of these are falling away. Until there’s only ME left. There is no comfort in those places. They aren’t reflecting back to me what they once did.

From Jackie at A Heart’s Whispers

Anyone who reads this blog knows that photography is where my creative urges soar. In the past month, I pushed myself to step out of my photography comfort zone and experiment with effects that go beyond my normal boundaries. Stepping into the dis-comfort zone has been fun, surprising and incredibly creative. . . so much so that now I must admit that photographically speaking, my comfort zone has expanded beyond all expectations! I love it. (From Cecilia at Inspired Vision).

At Diabetic Redemption, we read, Both of these are activities way outside my Comfort Zone, so I’d say they qualify me for the challenge.  Thanks again, Inside Out Cafe.  I need this one in my life, now more than ever!

Quillfyre’s blog post titled No-Comfort Zone Week Ending April 23, writes, “What else? Well, on Friday I sent off my very first non-contest related submission to a national literary magazine. With some help from my friend Claudia. I promised her that it would be for this first one only, just to get me past the initial block. So that’s done. This week I am prepping for the Massachusetts workshop. Good news there too, as my brother will be back in town to cat-sit and house-sit etc. Have to admit though that the maps look rather confusing. Thank goodness for GPS.”

January to December has realized the frustration in commenting on every blog that she follows. After telling us her story, she summarizes …”Being brave and speaking out – no Comfort Zone – this is all my own work and no one has added anything to it or coerced me in any way and i have not accepted any bribes but if they come with added chocolate i may…”

In a recent post titled The Uncomfortable Comfort Zone, Sharon tackles something near and dear to her heart and the end result helps her find peace and comfort.

And that makes the whole idea of my comfort zone kind of interesting (in the “interesting” = “really really awful” sense). Parts of my life are like a very tiny, hard to find, pebble in my shoe that keeps slipping under my foot as I walk and digging into the arch or the heel or getting caught between two toes. You’d think it would be worth the trouble to stop and get rid of it, but I don’t do it. I don’t want to be embarrassed by getting caught balancing on one leg with my shoe off. I don’t want to take the time. I don’t really think I’ll be able to track it down – it’s such a ridiculously small pebble! – and get rid of it for good. And after all, I’ve been walking on it this long. I’m used to it, sort of. I think I can just keep going in spite of the pebble, can’t I?

Joss at the Crowing Crone has a blog post titled NoCoZ2012 – seven (which, of course, is short for NO Comfort Zone!) and she has been asked to participate in a game where she is asked to share seven things (see directions) then invite 7 others to join along. I don’t know about you but this always gives me a queasy feeling when I have to ask others to join, or post or involve themselves and yes – as part of the no comfort zone I am working to overcome that as well! Thanks Joss!

My Humble Thoughtz is out and about doing things that take her right to the edge. She writes:
“Because of you all, I took some chances, shared some stories, made friends, and had the experience of my life. None of it possible without the growth, and that not possible without nurturing. Thank you for that.”

I know I’ve missed lots of other challengers so please leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to include you in my list of challenge updates!

Care to join in the challenge? If so, read about it at the No Comfort Zone Weekly Challenge 2012 page.

The Web is my Oyster …

Podcast or podcasting icon Français : Icône po...

The web is my oyster. It’s jam-packed with ideas, colors, suggestions, education, lessons, movies, art, colors, videos, music and so much more.

Hulu.com has a wide range entertainment including television shows, movies, and documentaries. For instance, you can view an 88 minute movie titled The Future of Food (2007) and get an education that you’d never get in a book. This Hulu movie is ad-supported but you can mute the commercials or subscribe to HuluPlus for a more robust package.

At Ted.com, you can watch and listen to a wide range of speakers talk about education, technology, art, entertainment and most everything else. The speakers are engaging and the end result is memorable.

Howsound.org, (the back story to great radio storytelling) is a bi-weekly podcast on radio storytelling produced by Rob Rosenthal for the Public Radio Exchange (prx.org). Also, I love to listen to eTown, a weekly radio broadcast heard from coast to coast on NPR, public and commercial stations. Every eTown show is taped in front of a live audience and the website has a list of podcasts. Local productions can be so much fun!iTunes podcast

Login to iTunes and at the top click on Podcasts or iTunesU and go to places that you will never want to leave. If you select Audio Podcasts, go into All Categories and select something an area that ‘speaks’ to you. Whether you are interested in art, business, education, health, religion or any of the others… you will be there forever and a day.

If you select iTunesU, you can visit universities, colleges, K-12, or go beyond campus. Universities and colleges across the world have put up lectures, seminars, courses and podcasts for you to listen to and learn. You can take a class at Harvard or Yale and decide if that is where you want to study. Or maybe you can follow a professor at Truckee Meadows Community College and explore world religions or marketing. You can use the information here to help you decide what comes next.

If you prefer to NOT use iTunes, go into a search engine and enter “free podcasts” and then have fun making a selection. You must plan to visit youtube.com/education… oh my! Life long learning, college courses, science, math, engineering, languages … it’s all there!

Still not sure where to spend your time … then visit the Smithsonian Museum or check out this page that has a list of online art and museums.

library booksAnother place to get free materials is at your local library. You can get audio books, dvds, read journals and magazines as well as borrow music cds. Many libraries have online downloads where you can check out an audio or online book and download it to your computer.

The lessons, materials, educators, information and data are all there – online, free and waiting for us to tap into it. Wherever your passions lie, I am convinced there are websites and free resources that exist that will teach you even more.

Where do you go to learn? Share, share!

Before I die, I want to …

On my walk across campus today, I came upon this chalkboard hung oLeave your mark at UNCn the campus at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley.

Leave Your Mark – the unveiling of a communication chalkboard where students are invited to express themselves …On the board was this phrase:


Students were encouraged to choose a piece of chalk and write something.

I hope you enjoy this slideshow as much as I enjoyed reading it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And, yes … I did write on the board though it was not “lick the liberty bell,” since someone else had already wrote that!

What would you write on the board?

End Racism * Go to Ireland * Fill a pool with jello * Sky dive * Cure cancer * Write a book * Impact someone’s life * Climb 53 14ers in Colorado * Swim with the dolphins * End sex traffiking * Be able to help someone else make their dream come true * Build a house * Witness a miracle * Love like crazy * Travel the world * Have a child * Put a couch in an elevator and sit in it all day*

Not a Spectator (not me!)

I wrote this in 2000 and found it in my pile of short stories. Many things have changed since then but I thought you might enjoy this ‘No Comfort Zone” story from long ago …

I had not planned on racing.
In fact, I had never officially race-walked before.

When I left the house that morning, my plan was to watch the race and determine if I “had what it took.”  Okay, I knew I could do it, but did I have the technique?  There are rules and regulations about your heel hitting the ground, and your knee staying vertical until your foot was pulled up behind you.  I have never trained for this and I just wanted to watch and see how the others did it.

I showed up on Saturday to see the race-walking event.  Since I had never race-walked before, I assumed that you had to sign up in advance for the race.  When I inquired, I was told I could sign up on the spot.  I was just signing the last piece of paper when I heard them call for the start of the 3K race.

I hadn’t dressed for a race.  I was wearing jean shorts, a tee shirt, and my regular sneakers.  I had made plans to visit the library, bank and grocery store — not enter a race!  Compared to my fellow competitors, who were dressed in sleek purple and white tank tops, high cut shorts, official racing shoes and stopwatches, I looked like I was from the wrong side of the tracks.  Did I mention the garage sale visor I dug out of my trunk for this auspicious event?  The champions didn’t have to look at me for long, as I soon fell to the back of the pack.

Well “at least I’m not a spectator,” I told myself.  While I was being placated by these thoughts, I heard the heavy rhythmic breathing behind me. Yup — the first competitor was passing me by.  She was already a whole lap ahead of me!  Boy, she was fast, and gee whiz could she work those legs!  I tried to copy her but she was gone in the blink of an eye.

“Remember technique, remember form…” I told myself, except I didn’t know what the form or technique was!  As I was focusing on my imaginary form, the second and third place racers whooshed by me.  “Hold still!” I yelled in my mind, as I tried to study their leg and arm movements and the swing of their hips.

Yes, their hips.  Shall we discuss their incredibly lean and defined hips?   They were a work of art.  I would never have had this great view if I had stayed in the stands.  I wanted defined hips, strong legs and sculptured calves like those on the fast moving bodies surrounding me.

With 2 laps to go and the winner already drinking water and wearing a medal, I told myself that whatever time I got for this race will only be improved the next time I race — and “at least I’m not a spectator.”

It was hot, my t-shirt was heavy and my running shoes scuffed the ground.  (I found out later that race-walking shoes have an angle on the edge to prevent scuffing.)  I crossed the finish line in 23:08 minutes.

I had finished last.

“It was an honor to wracewalking shoe- Brooks T-5 alk in your shadow,” I said to the victor and to the 2 other racers around her (from the back of the pack they all looked like winners to me.)

“I wonder if you can tell me where you learned how to race-walk?”  The victor told me about a local club that she and many of the other top finishers attend.

Another source of information was the race official.  I asked him to show me what I was doing wrong, because during the race he shook a “caution paddle” at me.  He showed me some techniques and offered some suggestions. “Try going to a track and just walking on your heels until your muscles build up and your body is used to it.”  Another bit of advice was to remember what it was like when I was a kid running toward the swimming pool with adults yelling “No running!”

Well — mission accomplished!  I learned about race-walking from experts, winners and officials.  I doubt I would have learned that much if I had sat on the sidelines.

rocky mountain race walking 2000 medalI was weary and hot and tossing my forms onto the front seat of my car, when I saw the official posting the times for the race.  Since there was nobody around, I sidled up to the wall and found my name.  Sure enough — I finished in 23 minutes and the other person in my age bracket finished in 17 minutes.

Did I mention there were only two in our age bracket which meant … I won a medal!

Age 45, and it was the first time in my life I won a medal all by myself — because I decided not to be a spectator!

Here I am, 11 years later reading this and a huge grin on my face!
Boy oh boy … talk about taking a few hundred steps out of your comfort zone!! Oh my …

The Wellness Site
Walking: Trim your wasteline

Weekly Photo Challenge: Arranged

To look for a photo about arranged, I looked within my house.
Whether it was monkeys strung together, trucks in a row, a wall full of vcr tapes (ready to be destroyed on the count of 3) … the answer was right here, the whole time!

Arranging monkeys can be quite fun!

Grandson Chaz focused on making the perfect circle!
A barrel full of monkeys
Sometimes it's all about play!

That No Comfort Zone Thingy (Week 13)

The last few weeks have been doing things out of my comfort zone as I embrace Lent.

I was raised Catholic and I went to a parochial school my entire school years. Yes, kindergarten through graduation … so I was a totally immersed catholic girl. (Though I’ve only entered holy doors for weddings and funerals these days!)

During Lent I always gave up something for Jesus.  Lent is begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter. As an adult, I still love this rit

Blue Mountain Vineyards, Berthoud Colorado  - Pinot Grigio wine
Blue Mountain Vineyards, Berthoud Colorado - Pinot Grigio wine

ual and think the time frame of 6 weeks is perfect to make a habit or break a habit.

For Lent this year, I went totally out of my comfort zone and gave up wine, toast and TV. The hardest of the 3 is toast. I begin my day with a slice or two of toasted bread. Hot tea and toast. It’s like brushing my teeth –you just do it.

Now, I have to find substitutes. Cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, fruit … it’s all good for me but it takes work. I want to be simple in the early morning but alas … where’s the challenge in that?

The other two are not as hard for me. I put the box of wine (yeah, really classy huh?) in the basement and only bring it out for book group gatherings. The easy part was always reaching in the fridge and filling my chilled glass with some nice cheap white zinfandel wine or opening up a ‘good’ bottle of Pinot Grigio or Riesling and savoring that for a few days. A glass in the evening is a nice way to end the day – but not anymore.

As for TV – I only break my fast on Sundays. I figure that since I make the rules, I can break the rules.

Marge and The Good Wife have a date every Sunday night.  Good Catholic Girl + The Good Wife… no surprise there, huh?!