This is the group of friends I spent the weekend with in Pittsburgh this month. I was the photographer, so I am not in this picture. These are some of my oldest and dearest friends. We have known each other since we were all young married couples struggling to raise a bunch of kids on shoestring budgets and making our own brand of inexpensive fun.
We had a wonderful trip. We rode the incline, went to two baseball games, ate a lot of good food, and laughed a lot. This group of friends has been together long enough to know each other’s weaknesses and still love each other. We celebrate our strengths and accept the weaknesses.
I wrote a post about signing students’ yearbooks when I was a chemistry teacher. I always wanted to write something special, unique and inspiring for each student to show how much I enjoyed working with them and to inspire them to live their best life.
By the time the end of the year rolled around, we knew each other pretty well, my students and I. Our relationship had developed over nine months of laughter, tears, frustration, elation, and triumph. And I’m sure the students had some feelings about those nine months too!
I finally found a quote by Marianne Williamson that expressed my feelings. My entries in students’ yearbooks usually consisted of a portion of the following quote and one unique, personal observation about the student; something that I liked or admired about that boy or girl. My deepest hope is that those students are now allowing their own light to shine brightly in a world that can sometimes be dark.
I learned how small tweaks can result in big changes, both in athletic endeavors and in other areas of life.
A lifeguard at the rec center pool where I swim laps befriended me. She gave me laminated swimming workouts and helped me with my form. I made some adjustments and began swimming a little bit faster, but I was never a really great swimmer. Then I made one small adjustment which made all the difference in the world. I started driving my hips forward with each stroke.
That one small adjustment took 10 seconds off my lap time and changed my perceived exertion level from a seven (out of 10) to a four. It made me wonder what other areas of my life could benefit from a small adjustment.
I decided to tweak my practices in gratitude, encouragement, and love to see how I could improve in those areas.
What do you think? Are there small tweaks that you could make in your workouts or in other areas of your life that would make a big difference to you or those around you? It may be a simple as remembering “drive your hips forward“.
Cora, a blogger whose writing I love, asked me if I had ever read any books by Anne Lamott. Amazingly, I had not. I immediately ordered Hallelujah Anyway: Rediscovering Mercy for my e-reader and began reading that night. I also ordered two more Lamott books in print form, my preferred method of reading.
How have I not read any of Lamott’s books before? I loved the wisdom, insight, and humor in this slim non-fiction book. Her exposition on mercy turned on all the lights in my brain. My only regret was that I bought the e-reader version. There were so many pithy sections that I wanted to highlight with my trusty yellow highlighter for further pondering, so many lines I wanted to quote.
Here is one of the best:
“Kindness toward others and radical kindness to ourselves buy us a shot at a warm and generous heart, which is the greatest prize of all. Do you want this, or do you want to be right? Well, can I get back to you on that?
I want to want this softening, this surrender, this happiness. Can I get a partial credit for that? The problem is, I love to be, and so often am, right.”
Ouch! This hits uncomfortably close to home.
I highly recommend this book, which I read in two consecutive evenings. I could not put it down and hated to see it end. It is one of those books I will go back to again and again. I am so grateful to Cora for introducing me to Anne.