BLR Play It Forward 2015

go get ’em, girls!

I feel like such a proud Mamma today.

Long ago I hired a mousey, quiet, seemingly timid college kid named Crystal to work for me. I saw something special in her I knew for sure most people missed. In the 10+ years since then, I’ve watched her do amazing work in the communities she’s lived in and grow into this strong, intelligent woman who knows exactly who she is. She’s this perfect mix of sweet, kind, and silly, but serious and driven too. One of those watch out, you’ll never see me coming in all my awesomeness, but I’m going to continue changing the world into more of a positive place kind of people. She posted something on Facebook this morning about her new adventures on the west coast and a new job she’s starting. She decided she wanted to move there, made a plan and just did it. No surprise she’s already “making it”- she believes in herself and goes for it. Love that girl and her spirit. It has been an honor to tell her potential employers over the years they’d be fools not to hire her because she’s the best.

I got an email today from one of my BLR Play It Forward year #1 scholarship winners, Raheema. She graduated in June and told me she was going to SUNY Cortland in the fall. She’ll be majoring in athletic training, and doing indoor & outdoor track. Though I’ve only seen her in person a couple times since 2012, I can sense how much she’s grown and I have no doubt she will do amazing things. According to my hometown Mount Anthony Union High School 2015 yearbook, she’s Most unforgettable:

Unforgettable Raheemah

I agree! Another person I’ve been lucky enough to come across who embodies that undeniable zest for life that always makes everyone she meets, smile.

Then there comes other BLR Memorial Scholarship winners Mercedes Chen & Jami Mathers who came bounding into Willow Park last month for our Alumni Soccer Game portion of BLR Play It Forward, 2015 – with big grins, words of thanks, and gifts for me from their trips they took with their earned scholarship funds:

BLR girls

Unfortunately I didn’t get to spend but a few seconds with them as I was running around trying to make sure to cover all my event organizer bases, but I could feel from their thanks, and see from their excited faces in the short time we had together- their lives are never going to be the same. They’ve seen new parts of the world and new parts of themselves. That was precisely my hope, my biggest goal and dream when starting the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Life gets crazy, It’s not always easy, there are good times and bad, and you wonder if you’re ever doing anything right. Then days like today happen and you truly feel the gift that it was indeed possible you made a positive difference in someones life. This is a beautiful feeling.

I’m so proud of these young ladies, so thankful to all the ladies in my life, (some still on this earth, and some in  other places), who’ve inspired and supported me always. I can’t wait to do more to give back for all that’s been given to me.

#Unforgettable #PlayForwardGiveBack #Believe

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rolling with the mojo

I should add “can take photos while driving” to my resume.

Ok- maybe not.

Wouldn’t you know it, right after I wrote this yesterday, about my Mojo Warrior friend, I pulled onto the street and right behind this license plate!

Street Mojo

If you’ve been around the land of Blue Lollipop Road, like- ever, you know that Mojo is is my jam, the magic, the bomb. It’s even tattooed on my body:

Blue Lollipop Tattoo

…so imagine my happy surprise to drive right behind that car. I never spotted a plate like that in all my years as a road warrior. (And I spent a lot of years on the road!)

Pure coincidence? Irony? Meant to be? Hmmm…

I’ve been talking a lot about Mojo flowing over the past month, for many reasons and especially after our awesomely successful 4th Annual BLR Play It Forward Event. Indeed it is my friends. Let it flow. Someone is buzzing around to remind us that Mojo always wins.

#StrongMojo #Signs #GameOn

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community support = awesome

What a happy surprise to arrive at my office today from the Bank Of Bennington!

Scholarship Donations

One of our alumni friends works for Bank Of Bennington, and now for 2 years in a row, they’ve matched her donation to the Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship fund. Now that’s what I call awesome! I dig companies who do good.

Thanks Bank Of Bennington! Your support helps give students the opportunity to travel and see a world they might not otherwise have the chance to.

#Community #DoGood #PlayItForward

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playing it forward with forever friends

Here we are a week after BLR Play It Forward 2015 weekend. Thinking about our time together makes me smile. As I work on page updates, stories about what happened during our event, get photos from our photographer, etc. I wanted to share this one:

Good old friends

This is one of the only 2 photos I managed to get during our alumni game time. Things were so busy it was a blur, but I had to grab my friend Kate Emma right after the game while we were nice and sweaty to get a quick shot. Kate Emma suggested the idea of an alumni game when I saw her for the first time in years during the fall of 2011. I’m so glad she did. I took that idea and ran, and now 4 years later (with a lot of help from people like her to make it all happen), we have this amazing annual event that’s done so much to bring our hometown community together. People like Kate Emma mean the world to me. The ones you grow up with know you, they get you, and they love you in a way like no other friends. There’s a unique bond with old pals like Kate Emma that never go away even if our lives run in hundreds of different directions. I feel pretty darn lucky to have such a large core group of hometown ladies who support and love me so much.

Thank you Kate Emma, and to all of my girlfriends from MAU for helping to make my Vermont time each summer so special.

More Play It Forward 2015 wrap coming soon!

#Community #PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojoForever

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more than i bargained for

My annual July adventure up north for green space fresh-air & BLR Play It Forward Event time ended up being way more than I bargained for/planned on/expected/hoped/dreamed of/wished. Like way more. Some good, some bad, and some really ugly.

As I sit in my office back at home base, surrounded by piles of things to take care of (that’s literal and figurative), I look at this photo from a couple weeks ago when I was peacefully sipping coffee at a boat house and think- ahhh…wouldn’t it be nice if life was that calm & easy. (Then I think maybe not so much because we’d never learn how to handle the bumps and bruises that come along.)

BLR at Little Moose Lake

My brother sent this video to me via text the other day when I was on a long drive and just feeling awful. I laughed so hard in my stomach hurt. This is absolutely hilarious, with my favorite line being about the “3-ring sh*t-show” of life. Be warned; this is for adults, lots of eff-bombs/inappropriate language:

Seriously, how can you not laugh at something like this, especially when life is handing you so many lemons every kid on your street would be able to make enough gallons of lemonade to sell & finance their 4-year education?

It always seems by the time I end up sitting down and logging on to write here, I have too much I want to share about my experiences that I don’t even know where to begin. For now I will say that I continue to be so incredibly thankful to all my family & friends for being such a big part in why life is beautiful. (And “brutiful” as my friend Laura says.) Also, Play It Forward 2015 was an amazing success and I am one happy camper about that. (More on our event here soon. Our generous volunteer photographer, Nicole is editing photos as I type.) Beyond those two things today, I will share some things I have learned and re-learned from this crazy summer of 2015 so far:

*Life is too short

*There’s a lot of fear floating around this earth

*If you feel like you want to do something or say something, you should start doing it right now

*There are few things better than spending time with good old friends

*You will never forget that time when you were a grown adult that your Mom literally had to hold you up and hold your hand at a funeral- otherwise you would have never been able to do it. (I love you so much, Mom.)

*If you compartmentalize deep/heavy/important/significant stuff for too long, it will rear It’s ugly head sooner than later

*We must wake up everyday even when we are drowning in that sea of lemonade that has come rushing toward us (see above making lemons out of lemonade), and be inspired to do better, be better, and live better- even when we feel like total crap

Feeling scared, sorry for yourself, or overly bummed about tough stuff or things that are happening that are not so awesome? Think about those people (we all know far too many) who no longer have a choice; The ones who if they did, would give anything and everything for a chance to just be free and feel healthy, to spend just a few more minutes doing something they’re passionate about, to have just one more hug from the ones they love.

Now that’s motivation. 

Go get it, ya’ll. Put the courage belt on, clip yourself in tight for an incredible ride, and start driving. Live. Time’s a wastin’

#StayInspired #Believe #LiveWhileYoureLiving

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today is the day; play it forward 2015

Huge thanks to The Bennington Banner for this article about our event today!

Play It Forward is so much bigger than just a soccer game. It is about bringing people together, honoring loved ones no longer here, and celebrating memories and time together. It is a reminder about what’s important, where we came from, and is meant to inspire us all to truly live while we are living.

All hands in

This is year four, and I can’t believe it! Countless hours and efforts have been put in and I as I type this with a big smile I could not be more proud. I am humbled and honored to host this event, and so thankful for all the love, support & help from so many friends, family, alumni and community members.

BLR Play It Forward 2015…here we go!

Remember. Celebrate. Live.

#PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojo #Community

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please, please, please- don’t wait

There is no other way I can say it besides now is the time.

Like right this minute. 

If there’s something you’ve been wanting/wishing/trying to muster up the energy, confidence, “right time” for- start today.

If you’ve really wanted to make a change for a long time but haven’t gotten around to it- start today.

If you’ve been meaning to clear your schedule to take care of something important to you- start today.

If you have the choice to take an hour to spend with yourself, with your partner, your kids, your friends, neighbor, your aunt, your uncle, your grandparent your parents, your dog, or your frog, and ditch on that never-ending to-do list or time-wasting work meeting- do it today.

If you love someone and haven’t told them in a while, stop anything and everything you might be doing right now and pick up the phone and tell them, go next door and hug them, get in your car and drive to them, open up Skype and blow kisses through the screen at them, write them a letter, run outside and scream it out loud…

…while you can. 

Today I have to say goodbye to this smiling face:

My Friend Katie

…who’s been in my life since I was a middle-school kid.

My Friend Katie

Katie, my constant hometown friend of years and years who was a most amazing sweet, kind, genuine, generous, selfless, happy, funny and positive person- passed away last week. The above photos were taken during my BLR Play It Forward event time last year in Vermont.

I didn’t get home in time to see her this summer, and she lost her fight before our coffee date that was scheduled for this week.

My heart feels ripped to shreds, but Katie inspires me to share this:

Don’t wait. Life is so short. We get busy, we think tomorrow will come for sure, we always think we have more time- and sometimes we don’t. Please give yourself a gift by reaching out to your loved ones to tell them what they mean to you. Follow your heart, your dreams, your crazy ideas. Go do, be, see, laugh, love, live it up. Be courageous. Fear is nothing. Nothing is scary until you lose someone you love so much and no longer have an option to spend time together.

Remember what’s important, celebrate the memories you have, and live like today is the day.

Thank you, Katie for bringing so much joy to this world and so much light to my life. I promise to live, love, and celebrate everyday I have. You will always be in my heart.

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some faces that inspire me to always keep trekking

Our event weekend is approaching fast, just 10 days away! Thanks to the Bennington Banner for getting the word out locally for us.

I’m honored to host this annual community event, and so appreciative to all who come out, donate, and/or participate so we can keep the memory of these amazing girls alive:

Dedication page

Here’s to loving & living like today is the day.

Looking forward to seeing everyone!

#ThingsThatMatter #PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojoForever

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time to get your soccer on!

Calling all MAU Women’s Alumni! We are just one month away from our Annual BLR Play It Forward event. Time to register is now!

Click here and get your name in the mix of hometown fun & doing good. We want YOU!

A perfect time of year to be inspired by the Women’s World Cup:

BLR PLay It Forward 2015

July 11th

2pm

Willow Park Fields

Bennington, VT

Be there!

BLR Play It Forward 2012

BLR Play It Forward 2012

BLR Play It Forward 2012

Remember. Celebrate. Live.

#BLRPlayItForward #PlayForwardGiveBack #StrongMojo

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