Author: Kimberlee Koehn

Hello, my name is Kimberlee. Yes, there are two E’s, let’s not get into it. I love traveling, writing, hiking and sweet potatoes. We can go ahead and be friends now.

My Google Search History (Part 4)

So you know how I have that tendency to keep Internet windows open? Well I have officially reached a new level of insane. When I scrolled through and looked this past week, I had over 80 windows open. EIGHTY.

I must be stopped.

OR

I must continue. Because continuing means more of these posts, which, while giving you mild concern for my attachment to internet windows, also provide you with at least mildly interesting facts you might not have otherwise learned, right?

Maybe?

I don’t know.

All I know is that I’m probably going to keep doing it, and I hope you’ll mildly benefit in the process. So, diving right in, over the past few months, my Google search history can be broken down into four main categories:

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1) Recipes

Because I’m always propping my phone at perilous angles while I cook.

Here are some of the recipes I’ve recently Googled:

  1. Italian Spaghetti Squash
  2. Persimmon Pudding Cake
  3. Jalapeno-Goat Cheese Grilled Stuffed Mini Peppers
  4. Penne with Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese
  5. Quinoa Enchilada Stuffed Delicata Squash
  6. Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Red Onions with Feta

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2) Questions About Food

Because while food is delicious, it’s also…kind of mysterious?

Here are some of the questions I’ve Googled, the answers (if you’re wondering) are in italics.

  • How long are chips good after their expiration date?
    • 2-3 months.
  • Is there gluten in tortilla chips?
    • If they are made from corn tortillas, no. 
  • Iron rich foods to add to your diet?
  • Do you refrigerate brussel sprouts?
    • Yes, in the vegetable drawer. 
  • How long are chopped onions good in the refrigerator?
    • 7 to 10 days.
  • When are peaches in season?
    • May – late September.
  • What is a good snack to have before bed?
    • According to this article, some good options are a cup of almond milk, seasonal fresh fruit, dark chocolate covered popcorn, whole wheat bread with peanut butter, greek yogurt or cottage cheese. 
  • What foods trigger breakouts?
  • How can you tell if your eggs are bad?
    • This article gives this suggestion for a Fresh Egg Water Test: “Fill a bowl with water, and carefully place an egg on top. If the egg sinks like a stone, laying down on its side — it’s still very fresh! If it sinks but doesn’t lay flat — and instead it kind of stands up, wobbling — your egg is OK and probably just right for hard-boiling. If the egg floats on the top, that’s an indication that your egg is possibly past its prime.” 

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3) General Questions

I feel like these need at least a little explanation.

  • How often should you water a succulent?
    • Why I Googled this: I was gifted a succulent and I was afraid I was going to kill it. (Which I eventually did.)
    • The answer: At least once a week.
  • Can pets get altitude sickness?
    • Why I Googled this: We took our dogs to the mountains and our huskie did not fare well, especially for the first few days. Poor baby.
    • The answer: Yes, here are the symptoms and what to do. 
  • How long can you use toothpaste after the expiration date?
    • Why I Googled this: I found a little tube of travel toothpaste under my sink and I was wondering if it was safe to pack or if I’d start my vacation by rotting my teeth.
    • The answer: 12 to 18 months.
  • Can you dye your hair with easter egg dye?
    • Why I Googled this: I mean, it was Easter, we were dying eggs, our creative juices were flowing and we were wondering if we’d discovered a life hack.
    • The short answer: No.
  • How do you take care of a Tamagotchi?
    • Why I Googled this: One night my roommate came home with a shopping bag and asked us to close our eyes and hold out our hands. She then placed a Tamagotchi in my “adult” hands and I squealed in excitement.
    • The answer: This is the article I read, also I just heard there is now a Tamagotchi app—if you’re looking to adopt a virtual child.
  • What does Gayla Peevey look like?
    • Why I Googled this: It was Christmas time and “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” came on the radio and, you know, I was just curious what the singer looked like. She looks like this:

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4) Rihanna

Someone on Twitter recommended typing “Rihanna” + your birthday into Google images to see what outfit she has worn in the past on that particular day and it did not disappoint. Here is the top result for my birthday (September 5th):

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And so concludes another deep dive into my search history. I’ve once again closed all of my windows, giving my phone some room to breathe…for a little while at least.


 

You can read the part 3 of this series here. 

So Much “Back”

You know those trains of thought that you come across on long drives that take on a life of their own?

The ones that, when you get to where you’re going and start to tell whoever your with about them, they tend to lose steam, but since you’ve been ruminating on them for so long you have to tell someone, if only to get the damn things out of your head?

That’s where I’m at with this.

So bear with me. And maybe join me if you feel so inclined.

Here it is: Have you ever noticed how many English phrases use the word “back”?

I’m sorry, what? – You, probably.

Allow me to elaborate:

1) Throwback – as in “throwback Thursday” or any basic caption for old photos or memories.

2) Out back – as in “Where’s dad?” “Out back.” Or, “do you have anymore ice cream out back?” “No, you ate it all.” (Not to mention “the Outback” which refers to the western region of Australia)

3) Step back – as in the literal, physical motion of moving backward or the figurative action of regrouping and retracing.

4) Kick back – as in kick back and relax, or I’m having a kickback at my house.

5) Jump back – as in, hold on, rewind, say whatever you just said again. (Note: I’ve only ever heard this used in the movie Footloose, but I’m still counting it.)

6) Circle back – as in, “I forgot my wallet at home, circle back so I can grab it.” Or, “I think I saw a parking spot around the corner, let’s circle back.”

7) Call back – as in, “I got a call back!” (mostly used the acting/casting world)

So…yeah.

I just…

Isn’t that funny?

Weird?

The tiniest bit interesting maybe?

*smiles politely* – you, undoubtedly.

I’ll go now.

Strain then Stir (Episode 7): Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings Hungry for More (Part 2)

I’m not sure how many of you watch Game of Thrones, and I’m not sure how many of you watched it last night, but if you have and you did, there is obviously A LOT to talk about. I won’t be talking about it here however, because I’m not a spoiler-er and I don’t want to ruin anyone’s day, so instead I’m going to talk about food.

Food is safe, right? Food is comforting. Food is our friend. Let’s talk about food.

Checking in from last time, I am currently cooking my way through Chrissy Teigen’s second cookbook, Cravings: Hungry for More, and it has yet to disappoint!

Over the last couple months, I’ve really felt like I’ve not only learned new recipes, but I’ve learned new skillzz that I can take with me into many recipes to come.

These have been some of my favorites recently:

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Vegetable Noodles

This might have been totally obvious to everyone except me, but I had no idea you could turn veggies into noodles using a vegetable peeler. I thought you had to have one of those fancy spiralizer things or, I don’t know, some other extravagant cooking tool. So imagine my surprise and delight to find the secret to one of the most delicious and healthy things I’ve eaten lately was sitting in my cluttery utensil drawer all along!

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Blueberry Cream Cheese Pancakes

When I was training for my marathon, most of my Saturday mornings were spent logging lots of miles. I dreamed about the day when I could sleep in and make a big breakfast. This past weekend, I finally got to fulfill that dream and I spent all morning dancing around the kitchen in my sweatpants, whipping up these practically perfect in every way pancakes. Fun fact: The recipe calls for buttermilk and I forgot to buy it, so I Googled substitution options and found that if you mix 1 cup of milk (even dairy free!) with 1 tablespoon of vinegar and then let it sit for 5 minutes, you have yourself a buttermilk substitute!

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Goat Cheese Nicoise

One of the biggest surprises about this cookbook for me is how much I’ve loved the salads. I would in no way consider myself a “salad person” but there has yet to be one that I haven’t loved, and this was no exception. I even went so far as to leave the lettuce completely out of the recipe because who needs lettuce when you have green beans and potatoes and goat cheese and tuna steak.

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Spicy Honey Butter Carrot Coins

I mean, the name of these should let you know that Chrissy is not messing around. She’s making carrots taste like a damn DESSERT. I could’ve have licked the pan. (I might have licked the pan)

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So yeah, it’s safe to say that I’ll recommend this book every chance I’ll get because wow, yum, hey-o and YES.

Do you have any recipes or cookbooks you’ve been loving lately?

30 Good Things that Happened in April

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in

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1) Cherry blossom season arrived in Japan

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2) These students banded together to help our their fellow classmate

 

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3) The cast of The Avengers donated $5 million to children’s hospitals across the US

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4) This dad created special, interactive bed sheets for kids in the hospital

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5) This woman found a surprise in the book she was reading

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6) This girl hand painted her graduation dress

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7) This guy switched pants with his fellow student to help him out

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8) This boy started an important discussion in his class

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9) This dad shared a story about the new 49ers draft pick (click this link to read the whole thread)

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10) This boy went viral when he spent his spring break in Miami picking up trash

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11) These strangers were welcoming to a drunk stranger who mistakenly fell asleep in their house after a party

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12) Stephen Colbert and Oscar the Grouch sang a song

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13) Igloo released a new biodegradable cooler

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14) This video game designed to help predict Alzheimer’s disease has showed positive results

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15) This girl, born without hands, won a handwriting contest

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16) In lieu of selfies, this artist has started “dying” at popular destinations

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17) THIS DOG

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18) Robert Irwin introduced Jimmy Fallon to more animals

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19) The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office held their first annual egg hunt for the blind

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20) This horse got to live its dream

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21) This London tube station opened a short story vending machine for commuters

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22) This boy danced his heart out

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23) Hundred of pounds of trash were collected on Earth Day in Tampa Bay

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24) This dog caught its tail

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25) This company has started working with the NBA to upcycle traded players’ jerseys

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26) This:

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27) This teen ran a marathon with a titanium spine

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28) This police officer threw a surprise party for a boy after no one showed up to his birthday

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29) This school cafeteria packaged up unused food and sent it home with families in need

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30) Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw ran the bases with his kid

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what May brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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March/April Favorites

Y’all, my senses are overwhelmed.

I’ve found so many good things lately!

So much so that I don’t even have time for one of these strange/slightly awkward/overall pointless introductions.

Although I guess I just did one.

Tricked you.

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Podcasts

As you might suspect, My Dad Wrote a Porno is somewhat of a scandalous podcast, but it is absolutely hilarious. It follows a man—alongside his two friends—reading his dad’s erotic novel aloud. It is as funny as it is mortifying and the secondhand cringe is real, but if you are looking for something to listen to that will make you laugh out loud, I highly recommend this one. (find it here)

On an ENTIRELY different level. Homecoming is a fiction podcast that was recently made into a series on Amazon Prime. It follows the story of a woman who has lost her memory, but seems to have ties to a very private/sketchy organization known as “Homecoming”. I was hooked through both seasons and can’t wait for the next one. (find it here)

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Books

I could probably just list “Mitch Albom” as one of my favorites for the past few months because I’ve been reading his books like crazy, but The Next Person You Meet in Heaven was especially good because it continued on the story of The Five People You Meet in Heaven which I’ve loved for a long time. As with most of his books, it’s a quick but powerful read and I absolutely loved it. (find it here)

Salt to the Sea was the second book I read from Ruta Sepetys (the first being Between the Shades of Grey) and I was once again taken by her ability to make historical fiction so captivating, heartbreaking and moving. (find it here)

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Movies

Set in the 1970’s, following the movement of Martin Luther King Jr., The Best of Enemies is such a good and important story to be told, and I’m so glad it is being told now, in a time when so many people are divided.

Breakthrough is an absolutely wild story of a boy who falls through an iced over lake and is pronounced dead, only to have him spontaneously generate a pulse after his mother arrives at the hospital and prays over him. It is true account of a real life miracle and it was absolutely moving. (find it in theaters now!)

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TV Shows

Game of Thrones. OBVIOUSLY. (find it on HBO)

I feel like On My Block doesn’t get as much recognition as it should, but I’ve loved both of the first two seasons and hope it continues to generate attention and appreciation for the genuine, funny and real life stories it tells in every episode. (find it on Netflix)

Whether or not you know the story behind The Act, you need to watch it. (find it on Hulu)

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Music

As always, I’m just going to list what I’ve been listening to, but let the iTunes writers describe it to you because they have fun adjectives and big words.

Maren Morris, GIRL: “Her free spirited sophomore effort continues to push the limits of contemporary country-pop, infusing it with energy and texture from hip hop, R&B and psychedelic rock.”

Billie Eilish, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO: “a melancholy investigation of all the dark and mysterious places that linger in the back of our minds.”

Gone West, Tides-EP: This country band is still kind of under the radar so they don’t have a fancy write up on iTunes, but I genuinely love this EP and highly recommend it if you are looking for an easy listen.

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Skin Food

My skin has been having a bit of a hissy fit lately and so I’ve gone into full mother-of-a-screaming-toddler-in-a-mall mode, desperately trying to find something, anything to calm it down. With some research, I came across these two products, both of which have very high reviews. As of today, I’m about a week into using both and I have definitely seen improvements. Both products promise the long lasting benefits, so it is still a wait and see type of game, but I do feel like a bit more of an adult having a more defined nightly skin routine. (find the Rosehip Oil here, and Keeva Organic Face Cream here)

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Fig Jam

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To finish us off for today, I’d like to bring up one of the more obscure loves of my life: fig jam! This elusive little guy is hard to find, so hard that I only got my hands on two jars because my aunt snagged them for me at her local health food store. But trust me when I say that it is worth it because it is delicious. (my aunt found it at Sprouts 🙂

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

A Lesson from Claire Wineland: Love Your Life Your Way

Last month my sister and I went to see the movie Five Feet Apart in theaters. It follows two people with cystic fibrosis, who fall in love but are forced to keep their distance from one another.

The director of the film, Justin Baldoni, recently posted a video on his Instagram (that you can find here) where he introduced his main inspiration for the film: Claire Wineland. She lived her entire life with cystic fibrosis before passing away at the age of 21. In the video (taken in 2015), Claire gives a short speech, and it’s immediately clear why she changed so many peoples’ lives, and why her legacy is sure to live on.

She said:

I’m 18 years old and I have something called cystic fibrosis. I do only have a few years left to live. I mean, that’s how the doctors see it. Let’s get the whole like death thing out on the table, right?

Like all of us could get hit by a meteorite, so let’s stop thinking about the death part of it because that doesn’t matter to me. We have no control over it. But we do have control over whether or not we are proud of our lives. I mean, that’s something we have complete say over.

I am genuinely proud of my life. I am so proud to be alive. I’m not saying I don’t feel pain. I’m not saying I don’t feel sadness and suffering, and loneliness, because that’s what it means to be a human being. But I’m saying that that pain and that loneliness and that sadness is beautiful.

We live in a society that benefits off of us continuously looking for happiness and dreams and goals out here. Right? If we say, “No. We are not going to go looking out there for a happiness. We are alive and that is all we need.” We are beating the system. Right? And we’re living lives that we’re proud of. We’re living lives that make us happy!

You have to look at all of it. All of the pain, all of the loneliness, all of the beauty, all of the friendship and the family, and the sickness and the health. You have to lay it all in front of you and you have to say, “Okay. That is what I have and it is all wonderful. What can I make with it?”

Woah, right?

It really made me stop and think.

So often I am someone that puts an immense amount of pressure on myself to live a life that other people can be proud of. Sure, I take pride in what I do, but when I’m lying awake at night stressing, it is because I’m worried I’m not doing enough, not being enough. I’m worried people are judging me or pitying me or just wondering what the hell is she doing?

When we focus on the eyes of others, it’s hard to accept “all of it”. It’s hard to see all of the pain and sadness and beauty and family and friendship and sickness and health, and consider it “wonderful”. We can see the wonder in some of it, sure, namely the parts that might impress or connect us to others, but it’s hard to see all of it as the wonderful combination that makes us, us. It’s hard to realize that our unique combination of all of those elements is what makes our lives beautiful and special and important.

So today, I am going to take a look around, and I encourage you to do the same. Look at all of it. Everything you’ve been given, and find the meaning in it. Find the wonder. Stop living your life by other peoples’ standards and start living a life that you are proud of.

If I Had a Nickel…

So I know it’s usually a joke or a cliché or whatever you want to call it, but the other day I sat down and really considered how rich I could be if I ever did get a nickel or a quarter or, can you imagine, a dollar for every time I did or said and saw _______.

As I thought about it, these were the real moneymakers I came up with:

  1. Cursed in the car
  2. Ate a sandwich
  3. Said, “it’s freezing in here.”
  4. Made a pun
  5. Cried during a commercial
  6. Went to a dodger game
  7. Pressed snooze on my alarm
  8. Watched an episode of Friends
  9. Went to Target
  10. Made myself laugh
  11. Said, “you scared me.”
  12. Cringed at something I said years ago
  13. Cooked macaroni and cheese for dinner
  14. Did a crossword puzzle
  15. Went for a run
  16. Said, “Dude.”
  17. Talked to my dogs
  18. Googled something I was curious about mid-conversation
  19. Wore converse tennis shoes
  20. Rewatched a movie I’ve already seen rather than watch something new—especially something that I’ve been telling people “I don’t have time to watch.” (Sorry)

While there’s no way to know how much money I’d have if I could actually translate all of these into cold hard cash, I can only assume that if I did, I’d be writing this from a huge recliner with a built in refrigerator, wearing a robe made of clouds, while calling my personal driver to pick me up to take me to the airport to board a first class flight to an exotic destination with my family.

Or maybe I just wouldn’t have a credit card bill and I’d totally buy the brand name cotton balls instead of the knockoffs.

Honestly either future looks great.

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What are some things that would make you fictional nickel rich?

And what would you do with all that money if you could somehow get your hands on it?

I’d totally give the number of my cloud robe maker.

Give Thursday a Chance

So it’s Thursday.

Which means it’s almost Friday.

Which means it’s practically the end of the entire week.

Which means there’s no point in starting anything now.

Right?

All those goals you’ve been meaning to start pursuing.

That something new you’ve been wanting to try.

Those chores you’ve been needing to get done.

There’s no reason to do them today.

It’s Thursday.

You might as well call this week a wash and just start again on Monday.

Right?

As much as I want to say yes, and as much as I want to put everything I want to do aside and just worry about it tomorrow or, you know, next week, that really wouldn’t do me or you or any of us any good.

Mondays are great for motivational purposes. They are great for easy calendar tracking purposes. They are great in theory. But really think about a Monday. Think about how when you actually get to a Monday, it’s hard and awful and has too many responsibilities to begin with.

Monday’s can suck.

So…why not Thursday?

Why not Friday?

Why not Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m.?

There’s no reason to wait to start doing the things that will make you happy or organized or less stressed or successful. Every day holds the possibilities we give to Monday and every day can be as looked forward to as Friday.

So why can’t Thursday be your day?

Give Thursday a chance.

Start today.

A Poem for All My Friends Still in Grad School

This one goes out to all the friends

Who feel like their time in school will never end

This one goes out to all the fighters

Who still find themselves pulling weekly all-nighters

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I know things are hectic and tiring and crazy

I know weekdays are long and weeknights are hazy

The end seems close, but not close enough

And the days until then look chaotic and rough

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But one day all of this will finally be over

And all this hard work will payoff and spillover

You’ll be out there in the world, changing it for the better

With a degree in your hand you’ll be running, unfettered

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So hold on today, and hang tight tomorrow

You will cross that finish line, and you will feel your light glow

The hard work won’t be over, new adventures will find you

But the highs and lows of this one will all be behind you

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Until then, YOU CAN DO THIS

YOU CAN DO THIS, YOU CAN DO THIS

Does “this” rhyme with “this”? I don’t know, but YOU CAN DO THIS

There is More than Red

I recently listened to the audiobook of “You’re A Badass” by Jen Sincero and immediately after finishing it, I went out and bought a hard copy because I wanted to be able to highlight it and make notes and read it over and over and until the binding is good and tired. It is packed with good reminders designed to get you up and out of whatever funk you might find yourself in, so you can get out there and kick some (mostly your own) ass.

One of my favorite chapters started with the author asking you to look around whatever space you are currently in and pick out everything that is red.

Give it a try.

Focus on those things, memorize them, repeat them over and over again in your mind.

Now close your eyes.

Well. Okay. So this exercise might work better if you were listening to it. Otherwise you’ll just be sitting there with your eyes closed, repeating “ketchup bottle” over and over, with no idea what to do next. Since I was listening to the audiobook, I did not come across this logistical issue.

I APOLOGIZE.

The point of the exercise is to close your eyes, and after spending all that time focusing and memorizing the red, she then asks you to point out everything in your space that is yellow.

Huh? I thought.

Was this a trick?

I just wrote an entire rhyming poem called “Red in my Head” and now you’re going to pull something like THIS, Sincero? I do not approve.

But then she pulls a fast one on you.

She points out that if we are singularly focused in our lives, constantly looking only for the red, than we’re not going to notice the yellow, or the blue or the green. And Lord knows there is some green to be seen after all of this rain.

I listened to this chapter of the book about the same time I wrote this blog, and while they touch on the same thing, they stuck out in different ways. While my reminder to “look up” was a reminder that there are always good things amongst the bad, this “find the yellow” exercise was a good reminder that there is just more.

The world is full of so much more than what we might be struggling with in a particularly difficult moment or season. This doesn’t and shouldn’t belittle what we’re going through now, but it can act as a reminder that there are so many more moments out there for us if we have the courage, patience and perseverance to work through this one. There is so much yellow, y’all! So much blue! So many stars and stripes and polka dots. There is more. So take a deep breath, blink a few times, and let all those other colors come into focus.