BLR Tag

still hearing laughter

I’m currently sitting in my travel office for this week; the counter at the Blue Benn Diner:

Blue Benn Diner

Blue Benn Diner

I can’t get enough of this place when I’m in my hometown for BLR Play It Forward week each summer, even though I miss my coffee buddy so much.

I arrived in Vermont late Sunday night, and have spent the last few days reconnecting with some of my favorite people, and putting the final touches on plans for our 6th annual event that kicks off on Friday night. Sometimes I have to pinch myself at how ridiculously gorgeous this place I grew up in, is:

Vermont Views

Mount Anthony - Bennington Battle Monument

That’s view of Mount Anthony and the Bennington Battle Monument above. I took this photo from the town park where we will reveal our community give back surprise on Saturday. To say I’m excited and proud is an understatement. I’m trying my best to keep things under wraps as we complete all parts and pieces, but I really want to shout from the green mountain tops about the all the good heart and effort so many people have put, into making this special gift happen. I know the families of our girls will love it.

Today this article was published in the Bennington Banner.

REMEMBER. CELEBRATE. LIVE.

It’s so important to remember where we came from, no matter how far we might go from “home.” Giving back is key. Celebrating each day, and the happy memories we have, honors those we might not be able to see in person anymore. Living, realizing today is the day, to go, be, see, and do, is how we respect the clock that doesn’t stop.

Much of this life is so bittersweet. As we carry our bruised hearts around each day, I hope the voices of laughter that remain will always inspire us to keep arms wide open.

#AlwaysLookingUp #PlayItForward #RespectTheClock

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paying forward and getting so much back

I just returned from this amazing LeaderSurf program in Nicaragua where I learned a ton and was able to give back and share the blue lollipop Strong Mojo magic:

Blue Lollipop Road in Nicaragua

As I arrived home and plugged in, I discovered that Team Awesome (I just made that up) who includes my family, some alumni friends, and other perfect strangers from my hometown have been rocking and rolling with plans & construction on our community donation project for the 6th Annual BLR Play It Forward to be revealed on Saturday July 8th:

BLR construction project

People coming together, spending time doing good things for, or in honor of others feels incredible. My heart could explode!

I am 1,000 times more determined than ever to keep educating myself on everything I can, do work I’m passionate about, and to help lead others to do the same. This above is the stuff a full life is made of my friends! I am so thankful, inspired, and motivated by all this collaboration right now…happiness!

How are you sharing things that fire you up today?

#ServantLeadership #FollowYourPassion #RememberCelebrateLive

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the pivot of the strong mojo

Today is Monday which is technically a work day for all of us adults, but it also happens to be one of those work days I have done very little to make actual money. As much as money is a necessary thing, I realize once again on days like this, there is absolutely nothing that could ever make me feel richer than the time I have with all the amazing people in my life, and doing work that makes me proud. I’ve spent my entire day on a project that has meant more to me over the past several years, than I could ever put into words. A few photos from our 2016 summer event:

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

BLR Play It Forward 2016

The original idea for BLR Play It Forward, was to have a travel scholarship that would be gifted each year during our alumni reunion event, to a deserving soccer playing student at my hometown high school in support of them participating in either a language exchange program, a Gap Year, or an adventure travel trip for personal development. The first few years we had great luck with finding deserving students and programs. I don’t think there are a lack of those anywhere. The adults are the problem. (Always:) Let’s just say after this amazing force of nature we created, happening year after year, with all it’s amazingness, we found out that if there are hundreds of people yelling, YEAH! over here, and one or two people pretending they don’t see you over there, you’re better off barking up the tree that wants to actually participate.

So this means a shift for our annual Play It Forward give back.

Starting this year instead of attempting to partner with the school, we are partnering with the community as a whole and we have plans for a VERY exciting gift that will be a permanent fixture in town. All is in the works and will be a big surprise revealed on event day, July 8th.

The point of this post is to say, when you find what you really love, that thing you feel in every ounce of your bones that means so much to so many people, don’t ever give up. The student travel scholarship portion of my perfect dream for BLR Play It Forward worked for a few years at first, and we have incredibly impressive students who were recipients. Raheema is one of them and she’s pictured above. I’m hugging her in the photo at the registration table last summer. She is now a college athlete and we could not be more proud! We’ve watched her grow up and become every bit of the awesome we knew she would be. Now my perfect dream has shifted for this event and where raised funds go, and that’s Ok. The most important goals will always remain the same. There will always be Strong Mojo. No one could ever stop that.

I hope you will mark your calendars for the weekend of July 7th, and join us in Southern Vermont for this weekend of all things old friends and neighbors coming together, with all the new people in our lives, too. We are an all-inclusive kind of crowd, because love rules on this Blue Lollipop Road. Everyone is welcome!

Here’s to the indefinable essence of something magical coming together. 

#RememeberCelebrateLive #PlayForwardGiveBack #DoGood

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a long winter’s nap?

Nah…I’m here!

I know It’s been a few weeks, so sorry to leave my blog followers hanging. You know I love to write and share here. I promise to post more regularly. 2015 felt like a whirlwind of what month is it? Then, boom! Here we are kicking off 2016.

Even though work has been very busy, we did manage to escape for a couple days, continuing to follow our “less stuff, more experiences” lifestyle, and opted to buy and spend 2 nights at a friends beach house in lieu of physical gifts for Christmas this year. Whaddya know, it ended up being near 80 degrees in North Carolina for a few days! Yeah!

Bike rides, beach time, and sand in toes was a very happy holiday time:

Beach time

Love at the beach

Beach time

Nerd pose! I was wearing one of my Play It Forward shirts, so wanted to try and make you laugh:)

Here’s to having more freedom in 2016! Dip your foot in the chilly beach water, then jump in, baby! This is our one life and the blue lollipops are all out there for the taking.

#LessStuffMoreExperiencesHappyLife #BeachChristmas #FindYourMojo

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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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