Monday, October 15, 2018

The Walk to End Pancreatic Cancer


The fight against Pancreatic Cancer seems overwhelming. With only a 9% survival rate, it is the third  leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States.

I began participating in "The Walk to End Pancreatic Cancer" last year with a friend who has lost two aunts to this deadly disease. The event brought me to tears as I watched so many living with this unforgiving cancer or have had friends and family succumb to the disease. The love, compassion and community were strong, but the one thing I won't forget is the hope.


PurpleStride Puget Sound 2017

While talking to one of my cousins I learned that she had a family member also pass away from pancreatic cancer. This brought this fight against cancer a lot closer to home and made me even more willing to walk for such an amazing cause.

Zonnie Diane McDonald, known as Diane, was like a second mom to my cousin and her family.  She was a very strong willed and outgoing woman. She always thought she couldn't have children. However, she had her miracle baby in 1986. Only two short years later, she began to get sick. The family came together to help out around the house and spent time with this amazing woman they all loved so much. She passed away on November 4, 1989 after a year of fighting pancreatic cancer.

I am proud to honor Diane, an amazing woman whom I wish I could have met. I also want to honor my friend's aunts Teri and Linda. You can read more about them on our PurpleStride Team Page.



PurpleStride is a national race that raises awareness and funds for research, patient services, government advocacy, and community engagement. 

The Walk to End Pancreatic Cancer 2017

I will once again participate in PurpleStride Puget Sound this year. Will you consider helping me rewrite the future of this disease by making a donation today?

Every dollar that you give ensures that the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network can continue working to improve outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families. By donating today, you are supporting vital efforts to double pancreatic cancer survival by 2020. 




Have an Inspired Day!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

{Wordless-ish Wednesday} Go Seahawks!


Seahawks vs Rams
CenturyLink Stadium
October 7, 2018



It was an amazing experience to go watch the Seahawks play at CenturyLink Field. The energy of the stadium was explosive. The focus on the field was intense, the entire crowd was tuned in. I really enjoyed being so close to the players, you could see the sweat and hear the hits ricochet across the field. The Seahawks did not win this game, but it was close, coming down to the last minute. Still, it was a great game played by incredible athletes on both sides. This was my first NFL experience and I am so thankful for the opportunity because it went beyond any expectation.

Now it's time for some Wordless-ish Wednesday Fun!


Link up with the direct link to your post(s) containing photos, crafts and adventures. I love to read through and be inspired by all of the fantastic happenings of the week. Be sure to visit other's posts and share some comment love! Happy Wednesday!

   
   

Check out these other blog hops I link up with!

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Have an inspired day!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Learning to Trust the Process - Thanks Birthday and 5K


I am deeply inspired by fall. I'm not sure if it's the cool air, the warm color palette or the extra sugar in my pumpkin spice latte. Whatever the reason, I find myself ready to create, write and process all the chaos in my head.

This fall, along with my birthday last week, really has me thinking about how I process things. I'm beginning to feel behind and a little lost. I'm not processing as fast as I would like, the thoughts and ideas are coming faster than I can make heads and tails of them.

I'm a person who can't hold a lot of things in my head at once. To combat this inadequacy, I created a binder to hold all of my writing. It's sectioned off to accommodate all the topics I cover so I can easily write down ideas and then go back and polish them to publish on my blog or as fiction later. This process has really helped me organize my thoughts and organize my next actions. In turn, this reduces my stress. I like being able to start where I left off without a lot of fuss and without always feeling like I'm forgetting something.


Even with this innovative solution, self-doubt has crept into my life. I am feeling overwhelmed this season as my mind moves faster than my body and available time to develop my ideas. The notebook definitely helps, but I've been having trouble figuring out what else I'm missing.

Right before my birthday, I ran a small 5k race by the shores of Lake Washington. The race was not one of grand fanfare or advocating a cause like many of the races I run. Instead, it was just me and the road. I didn't mind this since it offered me a chance to think.

This race made me nervous, only because I had yet to really push myself since my summer vacation. I am finally loving myself where I am. Yet, this felt like a test where I forgot to study and all the self-doubt came barreling to me.

The entire race, my only focus was my breath. I didn't worry about the 3.1 miles I had to cover or the person coming up behind me and easily passing me by. I trusted my legs and body to be strong and I focused on breathing in and breathing out and the space right in front of me.

It worked. Not only did I finish the race, I ran well - a personal best. It was a real victory!



As I sat by the water's edge after the race eating a granola bar and letting my body and breath return to normal, I thought about my process, my self-doubt and what made this race different.

It wasn't the distance I was worried about during this race, it was the fear of not being enough. That struck me as I gazed out at the serene view of Canadian geese wading through the water. Why do I feel less all of a sudden?

I'm not sure I can answer that. My great conclusion is simply that with every change of season comes an opportunity to observe where you are and make sure you are heading in the direction you desire. It takes time to adjust the process, but as I do I am also learning to trust myself.

During that race, where I did my personal best, the difference was in my breath. I focused on breathing and being in the moment - it was a balancing of rest and pushing myself. I kept a fairly steady pace, but in some moments I was working harder and others I was able to trust my body to hold me up and just run.


I need to do that in all areas of my life - to trust myself and trust my process - my writing, my hobbies, homeschooling, fitness, healthy living, I could go on.

I need to relax a little and stop worrying so much about how my ideas and actions will be perceived and instead focus on what energy I want to put out into the world.

I need to flow through this seasonal transition and enjoy the moment I am in right now. Also to listen to my body and trust it to support me.

I need to remember that there is a time to push and a time to rest. Success comes with finding the balance in the give and take between the two.

My birthday and this race marked a turning point for me. I am confident again, ready to make some waves - to put myself and my ideas out there again just to see what happens. I am thankful for that and for another year of experience to draw on as I write, process and figure out how to make the most of this, my one life. 


All Photos by Amanda McCusker


Have an inspired day!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

{Wordless-ish Wednesday} Full Moon in Seattle


I love the early morning hours. Though I never want to get up, getting an early start and some fresh air in the morning sets the tone for my whole day. Especially when I look up and see beautiful scenes like this. The full moon made a huge impression on me this morning as it shone brightly above the Space Needle - a great way to start the day.

Now it's time for some Wordless-ish Wednesday Fun!


Link up with the direct link to your post(s) containing photos, crafts and adventures. I love to read through and be inspired by all of the fantastic happenings of the week. Be sure to visit other's posts and share some comment love! Happy Wednesday!

   
   

Check out these other blog hops I link up with!

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Have an inspired day!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Realistic Expectations For My Body


It is not an easy thing to align your mind and body. My mind thinks I should be at least eight pounds lighter and my body is like - hold up, that's going to take some time!

Two months ago I was pass my target weight. I was doing great, feeling fit and had a little extra energy. Then I went on vacation.

Where I had a great time! We went back to the Carolinas, our hometown, for an entire month to visit friends and family. I did so well for the first week or so, but then I began to slip. How do I say no to Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets smothered in BBQ sauce, my mom's homemade mac and cheese and ice cream for an afternoon snack?

Actually, don't answer that.

I know I'm not the only one coming out of summer with vacation body. It is a shape, just a little more round than I would like. Now that I'm back into my normal routine and eating patterns, it's hard to wait patiently for the pounds to melt back off.

I need to set some realistic expectations for my body. Especially as we head into a season of traditional food abundance, sports games that encourage that extra drink and pumpkin spice lattes (yes, I know I have a problem).

I am easing back into my workout routine consisting of yoga and running. I'm also reducing my portion sizes for meals and cutting out most snacking. But it just doesn't seem to be enough and I'm getting frustrated with myself.

Now I just have to wait and not get discouraged by the numbers on the scale. Right, that's about as easy as waking up one morning and saying, "I'm just going to run a marathon today."

Then it hit me, what I was missing...a good attitude. Thankfully, my clothes still fit and I'm already focusing my efforts to bettering myself. All I have left to change is my perspective. I need to focus my energy on the positive things.

I need to love myself right where I am.

You know what, I had a great vacation and spent my time with some awesome people eating delicious food I don't often get. Why am I beating myself up over this? It will all be okay.

The only way to change my body is to bring my habits back around to the healthy state. I am actively doing that. I don't want to stay at my current weight, but I don't want to push myself pass my breaking point over worry for something so vain.

I will focus on the positive. I will meet myself where I am at and love myself right now, round and all. Then I can cultivate the energy I so miss and feel better about myself, today.

I hope that for you too. Love yourself right where you are. Even as you take steps to better yourself, be happy in this moment because that is all we have. Give yourself time to adjust and forgiveness when you slip.

Today is a brand new day and so is tomorrow. Love yourself today. Love yourself tomorrow. Love yourself for just being you. Because you are awesome!

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Title Photo by Imani Clovis on Unsplash



Have an Inspired Day!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

"Smallfoot" Movie Review

Photo Credit

Our legends of Bigfoot are numerous, but there is not evidence they exist as a species. But suppose they do exist. Have you ever thought what a Yeti thinks about humans?

They do exist!?!

Friendly Yeti Migo, voiced by Channing Tatum, accidentally finds a human and excitedly tells his entire village of his discovery. However, this results in fear since this species, the dreaded "smallfoot," is not supposed to exist and leads to Migo's banishment. Now Migo sets off on an epic adventure with some unlikely allies to prove his tale.

"Smallfoot" sends a very pointed message about questioning the source of your beliefs. Between the ongoing slapstick humor, viewers are asked to consider is there such a thing as a good lie. What if it protects your very way of life?

Knowledge is power, but once you know, what do you do with it?

Migo has to ask himself these questions as he realizes the "monster" is often a matter of perspective. Education can overcome fear and offer a form of communication. My favorite quote from the movie, "The only thing stronger than fear is curiosity."


Photo Credit

I really enjoyed this film, though simple, it leaves you with a lot to think about. The color palette of the film follows the tone in a graceful way that keeps you in the mood of the story. The contemporary style of the movie offers great messages about integrity and how to manage the pressures of social media. There were a lot of things that went really right in this film.

Tatum is joined by other voice talents such as James Corden, Danny DeVito, Zendaya, Lebron James and Common to round this journey with a well known and very talented cast. Award Winning Director Karey Kirkpatrick adds great vision to the animated adventure based on the book Yeti Tracks by Sergio Pablos.

Zendaya sings the feature song for the film, "Wonderful Life," which covers the main theme beautifully:


This Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Animation Group movie is fun for all ages and offers humorous encouragement to understand the source of your beliefs and not be afraid to trade what you've been taught for what is true.

"Smallfoot" opens in theaters everywhere on September 28, 2018.


*Also published on "Tales from a Mother."

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

{Wordless-ish Wednesday} Autumn Day at the Water's Edge

Golden Gardens Park - Overlooking Puget Sound (Seattle, WA)
 I find a sense of calm and purpose being by the water's edge. Though I love Autumn, it is always a hard transition going toward cool weather. I was very thankful to have an afternoon in the warmth of the sun while walking along the beach of Puget Sound to help ease the transition.

Now it's time for some Wordless-ish Wednesday Fun!


Link up with the direct link to your post(s) containing photos, crafts and adventures. I love to read through and be inspired by all of the fantastic happenings of the week. Be sure to visit other's posts and share some comment love! Happy Wednesday!

   
   

Check out these other blog hops I link up with!

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Have an inspired day!

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The Walk to End Pancreatic Cancer

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