BLR Reunion Soccer Weekend 8/18/12

celebrate everyday: day 8

1.8.18

Today is January 8th. Teachers’ Day/National Teacher Appreciation Day is not until May 8th, so I guess I could’ve waited to celebrate and shout out to my favorite teacher until then, but I don’t like following the rules (shocker), so I choose today instead. He knows I’m not a rule follower, so the fact I just sent him this image I saved recently won’t be a surprise:

Can't Stop Talking

Quiet and shy have never really been my thing. My poor teachers. I always respected them (if mom ever found out there was any disrespect…whoa), but boy I know I had to have been a chatter-boxing pain in the you know what to have in class.

Thank goodness for teachers like Mr. B! (Now┬á“Charlie” because I’m an adult, but I’m still not used to calling him that.) This man somehow had the magic that so many awesome teachers do, to keep kids like me on task back in the day when I was distracted with things like laser backgrounds, boys, and acid wash:

1990 Class Photo

Flash forward from the 1989/1990 school year and now since the beginning of BLR Play It Forward, Charlie has come out to support me. We always have a lunch date (his wife included) during the week when I’m running around doing event prep, where we talk about all things life, then come the big day, we get our annual photo together. The first year in 2012, I was showered and clean after our alumni game at the art gallery that was part of our celebration:

Me and Mr. B

…every year after that, not so much on the clean side, but smiling all sweaty from soccer and being in good company of course. 2013:

BLR Play It Forward 2013

2014:

BLR Play It Forward 2014

2015:

BLR Play It Forward 2015

2016:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

(Five for five in the pouring rain and thunder!)

2017:

BLR Play It Forward 2017

Notice anything besides the fact that we look younger ever year? ­čÖé

Charlie’s shirt was never planned, he just happened to wear the same one on year 2 and 3, and then it became a thing.

It feels pretty special as an adult, to become friends with your teacher. Especially your favorite one, and especially because you get to simultaneously apologize to them for being mayyyyybe just a bit stubborn back then (who, me?!), and thank them, for being a positive part of shaping you.

Today I celebrate teachers! The grossly underpaid set of amazing people responsible for corralling all us monkeys and enlightening us, even when they’d probably like to throw us in detention for a week for being sassy little things.

Who always shows up for you? Send them a thank you note. Continued support from people who see promise and believe in you is a seriously big deal.

Thanks, Charlie! A million apples for you.

#LoveYourWork #TeachersRock #Community

*Want to send thanks to someone and don’t know how? Call me! (804.339.6514) I can help.

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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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HAPPY 5TH BIRTHDAY BLUE LOLLIPOP ROAD!

YIPPEE!!!

Today is Wednesday October 16, and this makes b-day number 5 for BLR. Let’s celebrate!

Cupcake anyone?!

She-Daisy Cupcakery Cupcake

This is the perfect time to write about the above de-lish treat (sun drop pound cake with a sun drop glaze and lemon buttercream) that Wendi, Owner of She Daisy Cupcakery gifted me a few weeks ago after she bought a pair of my vintage Frye boots. (Craigslist rocks.) So yeah, I took a treat from a stranger. (I seem to keep breaking all those rules our parents told us to live by.) Wendi was a blast to talk to. She quit a career that was blah, followed her passion to the land of things sweet- and voila a cupcake company! Another good story about a random encounter with a hard-working, inspiring person who followed their heart. I love being able to share about these kind of people here.

Without a doubt the best part of these past 5 years on the Blue Lollipop Road, has been meeting new people, the kindness of strangers, and spending time with those already in my life that I love. What else is there, really?

Ahhh- yes, the people I’ve met along the way, who share similar interests:

Million Mile Joe

Hood River, Oregon travel people

Allen & Judy Kirkwood on Alaska Ferry Boat

Meet Jack Burrows: Blue Lollipop Road

…the cities I’ve fallen in love with:

Chicago skyline from my apartment

Toronto view

…my various office locations:

Blue Benn Diner Office

Coffee Shop Office

Finger Lakes Office

My BLR Chicago Office

Coffee Shop Office

Coffee Shop Patio Office

…the food I’ve noshed on:

Chicago Brunch de-lish

Food truck tacos

Bongo Room Pancakes

Blue Benn Diner breakfast appetizer

…the places that’ve helped me find the way back to myself:

Thank you Argentina! I found myself again

…the signs that make me laugh:

Signs at The Chocolate Barn

Signs In Bathrooms

Upstate, NY Road Signs

Farmer's Market

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

Funny Signs: Blue Lollipop Road

…the excitement, energy, and adorable kids (and adults) who keep the Strong Mojo alive:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

Ben & Sam with blue tongues

The Carter Girls playing mini gold in BLR tees

Blue Lollipop Kids!

Caleb & Carter with blue tongues

Scott & Sierra love blue lollipops

…the adventure from coast to coast and beyond:

Cape Elizabeth, Maine

BLR-Mobile at the Alaska Border

BLR in Bermuda

The original Blue Lollipop Road: Cafayete, Argentina

Henna in India

Bermuda sights

Iquazu Falls, Argentina

London

"Crabbing" in Ketchikan, Alaska

…the lessons I’ve learned:

BLR inspiration

…the special friends I’ve reconnected with:

BLR Play It Forward Day 2012

BLR Play It Forward 2013

BLR PLay It Forward Day 2012

BLR PLay It Forward Celebration Cocktails 2013

…honoring lost friends by giving back to hometown female athletes, so they have the opportunity to go out and see a bigger world too:

BLR Memorial Scholarship recipients Hannah Patterson & Mercedes Chen

(Above left 2012 Blue Lollipop Road Memorial Scholarship recipient Hannah Patterson, and 2013 recipient Mercedes Chen at a recent soccer game:)

…events with good friends in beloved landmarks:

Cubs at Wrigley!

…the strangers out there who’re also on the Blue Lollipop Road:

BLR partners in crime

…the freedom I have found and felt:

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

Finding freedom on the Blue Lollipop Road

…the truths I’ve come to know and trust:

Knowing what makes me richer

…the journeys and daydreaming in the sky:

Plane ride to Bermuda

…and on the road:

VA farm country

…the cheesy places I’ve been:

BLR-Mobile at South of the Border

…and the beautiful:

Napa hot air balloon mornings

…the nicknames I’ve acquired:

Nicknames

…knowing that there will always be bumps, so I better strap in tight:

Buckle up on the BLR

…never losing faith in things that I hope for:

I think so too

Things I wish

…and to wherever, and whatever- the road leads to next:

The Blue Lollipop Road

5 years ago today I drove down a road in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and “Blue Lollipop Road” popped ever so randomly into my head as I was brainstorming a best way to share my stories with more than just family and close friends. Who knew this is what it would become! I’ve managed all the┬áabove on a shoestring budget and with no plan whatsoever. I didn’t grow up with a trust fund, I never spent my childhood jet-setting the globe with my parents (I barely made it out of the state of Vermont until I was 15), I’ve never taken any writing or computer classes (I’m sure that is very obvious considering my regular grammatical errors and other:), and at the risk of sounding so cliche’- I’m just a small town wildly curious kid, that came from humble beginnings, learned in an heartbreaking incident at a very young age how short life is, and since then have decided that every day is a chance and a choice to live like I mean it. During my journeys on this Blue Lollipop Road,┬áI’ve learned things that’ve absolutely changed my perspective and my life as a whole, I’ve seen places that’ve taken my breath away, and I’ve met people I wouldn’t have been able to in my wildest dreams- all because of this platform. Now that is something to celebrate!

I’ve written and shared here in and effort to keep myself in check and awake about what’s really important, to prevent myself from falling into the drone-zone, and to remember all the things that are possible. I hope by visiting here, you stay fired-up about life, like a kid in a candy store too.

Here’s to the next 5 years, and to going for it all.

What are you celebrating today?

#HappyBirthday #LifeOnTheBlueLollipopRoad #ThisIsWhatILove.

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blr play it forward: part 1

Where to begin a post about a weekend that was so intense and special?

Planning for BLR Play It Forward started in September 2011 during a visit in NH with an old high school friend and fellow soccer alumni I hadn’t seen or spoken to in over 10 years. From her initial idea for a reunion soccer game, to executing our full-scale weekend long event in Vermont just 10 days ago, it all ended up being far beyond what I (we) had hoped for. I am more proud of what we created with BLR Play It Forward, than anything else I have ever done.

18 years and 10 days ago, I woke up to a day that devastated me like no other with the news 2 that my very good friends and soccer teammates had been killed in a car accident. My life changed forever in an instant and for every one of the 6,580 days I have woken up since, I’ve thought about 8/18/1994. That will never change. The loss of 2 people who represented pure joy, love, and fun to so many of us, delivered the most heartbreaking, yet greatest most cherished lesson I have ever learned- that people and time are the most precious gifts in this life.

To properly illustrate the impact or irreplaceable moments our big event made on me, the families of our lost friends, the alumni who were there, our coaches, and community members feels impossible. Such a striking pain on a day that reminds us of such loss, coupled with the overwhelming joy-filled moments of reconnection with the community we grew up in, and fully feeling the love and spirit of our two girls up in the clouds on one day all together- will likely leave my head in this humbled, thankful, daze for a long time to come. 8/18/12 was a day that will never be replaced.

I will do my best in my several-part posts here to properly share with you all about a weekend I will never forget. First and most importantly a thank you:

To the families of Maria and Brandy~

The fact that you came to share yourselves with us on the 18th day of August day is beyond anything we could thank you for. Your bravery and generosity are admirable. We were able to see again that the girls you raised came from places of pure authenticity and heart- this is how It was so easy to love them to this day like we do. I hope anytime your hearts feel empty with the pain of your loss, they will always fill right back up knowing how much we all live better because of your daughters. I am absolutely a better person than I ever could be, because of the time I got to spend with Maria and Brandy.

You accepted our wishes to create this event with 100% open arms after not seeing or speaking to most of us for nearly 18 years. That is a gift beyond anything I have ever received. I hope you all know that in every moment during and since our BLR Play It Forward Weekend, I have been inspired more than ever to keep living like I mean it. I promise to never stop. You should also know that the “space” that you were such a significant part of creating with us, has in turn made this open door for all of us (alumni) to share thoughts and feelings with each other that we never would’ve felt comfortable sharing had this event not happened. Please know that we all carry a piece of number 10 and 18 with us everyday, close to our hearts. The positive impact your blue lollipop eatin’ crazy fun, soccer loving daughters still have on every single one of us- is a light like no other. I thank you with every piece of my heart for making 2 people who will forever be my great example of pure happiness.

Blue balloons and Strong Mojo forever~

Blue balloons for our girls

Love, Diane.

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what’s the hold up?

It’s been a week since we kicked off BLR Play It Forward. I still feel like I am in a daze, a high, a whirlwind- one or all of those things.

Our weekend was this incredibly overwhelming mix of happy magical and heavy emotion. It was a thrill to connect and see old friends who I can still give physical hugs to, and a sadness remembering of 2 friends I can’t ever give physical hugs to again. This is why I am still in that daze-high-whirlwind. The biggest simultaneous high and low I have ever felt. Because of this, I haven’t yet felt ready to post here what I plan to; I am still taking it all in.

To you who are following here, I thank you. For you all who’ve supported me, BLR and our amazingly special event, I thank you. For all of you who’ve supported me in my adventures of the last 18 years, I thank you. For all of you who have been patient with me, I thank you.

Last weekend will never be replaced. You all (whether you were there or not) helped me pull off an event that I am more proud of than anything else I have ever done. I’m looking forward to sharing details when my daze-high-whirlwind calms…

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