We Need More Kindness!

As I observed a dear friend I could see in his eyes and hear in his comments – someone had been unkind to him. Who was it – a parent, a lover, or a friend? Someone had scorched his heart in the past, so much so that it left an indelible mark that I could sense.

It was a gentle reminder to me of the unkind words I had said to others in the past. I remember their pain due to my careless words and actions. At the time, I vowed to try harder to be kinder. I found “nicer” words to say or said nothing at all. I learned.

Now I was staring into the gentle eyes of another soul who had been deeply hurt. It drove home the message – be kind to others, lest you create more hurt and pain in the world.

I thought about how we sympathize with the woman who endured physical or mental abuse. Friends encourage her not to accept such treatment. Subsequent lovers vow to treat her better.

This begs the question – how is it we can see the harm done to someone by people, but we are often blind to how our treatment of loved ones is crushing their spirits, their hope and their lives? How can it be that it sometimes takes “seeing” the pain in someone else’s eyes to realize that we have done the same sort of damage in the past to others?

Next time you recognize the hurt in another, remind yourself to do better, be nicer, be kinder, and choose your words carefully, so you are not the perpetrator of such sadness. Lift them up with a kind word or smile.

I encourage everyone to think more about their actions and be kinder to each other. This is how God would want us to live.

 

Click here to get more encouragement and reminders for living your best life.

Taking the First Step

 

Who would have thought two years ago when I was overweight and just starting my fitness journey, that today I’d be training for the National Senior Track and Field games?

Certainly not me!

Let me take you on this journey and explain how it all happened…almost seamlessly.

I knew I was overweight. If I didn’t know it by the number on the scale, the tightness of my size 12 pants was a sure giveaway. My attempts to attend classes and even hire a personal trainer at the local gym did not produce much in the way of results.

It was just another thing to do on my endless “to do” list. Drastic action was in order – and something that would become a lifelong habit.

It started easily enough with a free trial week of bootcamp. Although the workouts were difficult in the beginning, they were invigorating! I must admit, I wondered if I could really make the 6:00 am class, but it became a habit in less than a week. I was motivated by the caring staff and other “recruits” who were also on their fitness journey.

Additional classes exposed me to Pilates, rowing, cycling, and walking/running.

Janie J Pasadena games 208 June blog

At first, I could only run a short time, a very short time. I learned there was an “app” to tell you when to walk/when to jog. I worked up from mostly walking to eventually all jogging.

I learned from Coach Debbie about proper form and good posture. I still can hear her in my head telling me to stand up straight!

I asked Coach Heather how to get better and was informed to jog more than once a week, which led to faster jogging.

Then I learned about the importance of core work (aka crunches and various iterations) and how it helps with running. I learned about cross-training and integrated rowing and cycling into my workouts.

Exercise alone will not create weight loss, so I worked on eating healthy and the pounds came off.

In one year, I was down to size 6 pants. I had more energy and was much happier! This required a new pastime – shopping! I never thought clothes shopping was fun, but when you are in a smaller size, it can be! The clothes actually fit and look good. I consciously gave away my fat clothes, knowing I would never wear them again.

I still wasn’t running as fast as I wanted. Then my friend Beth invited me to check out her running group of elite masters track athletes, led by Coach Wayne Morris, a former 800 meter regional Master’s track champion. OK, I agreed; I would check it out.

Janie J with medals Pasadena 2018 June blog

The workouts were fun. Coach Wayne and the team were encouraging; very encouraging. He said he could help me get my time down and he did: on a 5K, my mile time went from 12:30 to 9:30 minutes in only a couple of months!

This was verifiable evidence that the workouts were helping! I felt stronger. I looked stronger.

Heck, I was stronger!

The team encouraged me to attend the Pasadena Senior Games in June 2018, so I decided to check it out. I placed second in 800 meter and 1500 meter for my age group. Not bad for my first track meet ever!

Remember I mentioned how my journey was “almost seamless?

I pulled a leg muscle at that meet and was required to rest until it healed. Then I made the mistake of trying to run again before it healed completely, which just delayed my recovery even more.

Lesson learned:  listen to your body!

But I was happy because placing at the Pasadena regional meet qualified me to compete at the National Senior Games.

Workouts are more rigorous now that I am a national-level competition athlete. Life seems to revolve around track practice. The scenario is something like this: run, hot bath, eat, wash gym clothes and repeat. Luckily, now that I retired from real estate, I’m able to fit it all in.

This may not sound like such a remarkable journey but considering I didn’t run in high school and I’m now 65 years old, it just goes to show ANYONE CAN DO IT!

It just takes the first step towards your goal.

Then push your comfort zone a bit to your next goal.

Keep expanding it and you’ll grow in ways you’d never imagined.

This journey reminded me a bit about my trip to Philadelphia last year, when I visited the famous “Rocky steps.” I ran up all 72 steps! (The only one in my tour group to do so).

Rocy Balboa statue in Philadelphia by David Barnas via Flickr
The Rocky Balboa statue in Philadelphia. Photo (c) David Barnas via Flickr.com

I know what it feels like to set new goals and reach them. I envision myself as Rocky when I am running those long 8 and 10 miles on Sunday. I tell myself to keep pushing. (Honest, this helps!)

I am looking forward to the National Senior Games in June 2019 where I’ll be competing as the youngest person in my age bracket. See, getting a year older has its benefits!

Click here to not miss the next installment in my life-long journey!

                  

A Little Slice of Heaven

When was the last time you enjoyed a “little slice of heaven”? My trip to Wyoming can only be described as just that — a little heaven on earth! It’s peaceful; the views are gorgeous and nature abounds everywhere. There are horses, cattle, birds, flowers, trees, mountains, rivers, clouds and plenty of sunshine! You can fish, hike, ride (horses or bicycles), walk or just SIT and enjoy being outdoors.

After a morning ride out to enjoy breakfast cooked at a camp along the stream, we enjoyed ‘Top Hand’ training where we practiced rounding up cattle. What fun! The gourmet meals are sumptuous and the desserts are to die for. At the very least, both require a looser notch on our cowboy belts!

Meeting new cowpokes from all over the USA is fun too. But the best part by far is just enjoying the great outdoors! Connecting with nature in only a way that a tech-free environment allows. No cells phones or TV, limited wi-fi, and if necessary – we resort to a land-line. This is the life – one more way to Live the Life You Have Imagined!!

What would be YOUR idea of a little slice of heaven? Dream a little…then work towards making your dream a reality.

To learn more about the adventures of Janie J and her upcoming books, be sure to leave your contact information HERE. You can also purchase her first book on Amazon.com HERE

ranch

 

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Put a Little Joy in Your Life!

roses

Do you know what brings you joy? Is it smile on your loved one’s face? The dog wagging his tail and encouraging you to play ball? Or is it the beauty of a fresh bouquet of flowers?

We all have different things that bring us joy and bliss and every sort of happiness in between. It is important to identify YOUR JOY so you can consciously seek out more of it! You are perfectly within your rights to think, do and act upon every little thing that brings you happiness and joy. It doesn’t have to be a BIG thing like a trip on a Caribbean vacation. It could be fresh flowers cut from your yard or baking a batch of homemade cookies.

Think of this as a “quest”, something you are actively seeking. Ask yourself this questions, “If I could have anything I wanted at this moment, what would it be? What would make me happiest? What would bring me joy?” And then go for it!

Many things we automatically rule out are actually easily within our reach, if we just try. Other, bigger ideas might be verging on breaking the budget or seem like just too good to be true! I urge you to ask for it anyway! The Universe has a unique way of bringing things to us that we ask for – so why not ASK?

People are amazed at the things that bring me joy that I have actually asked for and received. A rainbow. A cloud to move so I can finish my yard work in the sunshine. Good weather for outdoor parties. The perfect wardrobe attire.  A friendly face when I need it most.

One simple thing that brings me great joy is fresh flowers. I cut roses from my yard when they are available. If not, I buy them weekly. It really lifts my spirits to see them in my bedroom each morning….

Remember to follow your bliss!

Want to find out more ways to live your best life, then check out my first book, “Live The Life You Have Imagined”, available at Amazon.com. Click Here:

 

Make Time to Do Nothing!

Recently I enjoyed a week in a new city and did, well, pretty much NOTHING! This is a rather new activity to me, one which I am endeavoring to learn. In my previous life, before self-discovery and starting to lead the life I imagined, vacations (few as they were) were spent racing from one well-known tourist attraction to another. It was a great way to see many sites in Europe and I do not regret it, but now I appreciate another way of travel.

I remember quite clearly when this shift began. A dear relative had passed away and several family members and I were in San Francisco for her funeral. Before the church service and  ‘Celebration of Life’ party, we drove around to see a bit of the city. During the drive, my roommate mentioned going on vacation to our homeland – locations in the former Yugoslavia. I asked her what sites they saw. She mentioned a few non-touristy places with more of a local interest to our distant relatives. Mostly they spent time visiting, eating, drinking, and repeated those activities during their entire stay. I was dumbfounded! The thought had NEVER occurred to me to pay all that money, travel all that way, and DO NOTHING! What sort of a return on your investment is that?

Now I get it. I finally get it. Vacations are for rest and relaxation. It is time to recharge your batteries. (No wonder mine were running on empty for years!) Sure, site-seeing is fun and educational, but even those trips can include more R and R, so I have learned.

So when I went to Arizona to check out some property and see a friend, there was not much on the agenda. I went to Key Hole Mountain, the Herd Museum, Old Town Scottsdale, and enjoyed some nice restaurants. Most of the time was spent in the lovely pool at my AirBnB. It was a very nice pool, but I have a nice pool and yard at home too. What was the difference, I pondered. The difference was I could actually RELAX somewhere else. There was no need to check emails, prune the shrubs, or water the grass. I was at someone else’s home where I was only responsible for paying the nightly charge. It was a revelation to me! I was truly able to relax.

My goal now is to translate that experience into my everyday life. When I am floating in my pool, with the water fall gently running, I intend to be carefree and enjoy every minute of it. Someone else can be responsible for the emails and the yard work. This IS MY TIME!

 

Beaches, beaches, beaches…

Are you a beach-lover? I most certainly am! It started when I was young and went to the beach with my parents to Morro Bay, California to go “clamming”. I remember being around 11, dressed in my “jams”, which were quite popular at the time. If you are too young to remember, “jams” were comprised of a halter top and knee-length shorts, in a wild Hawaiian pattern. It wasn’t very sexy, but for a young in’ not yet interested in boys, it was considered stylish! Jams were for swimming, but wet suits were required for clamming.

Before dawn, we would go to the shore, dressed in our black wet suits. We walked out in the water as far as we could and still expose our heads above the water. We used our special pitch forks and pushed them deep in the sand, hoping to hit something hard, hopefully a clam, and would dig it up in between the waves knocking us down, to check if it met the required size limit. Afterwards, we enjoyed a hot shower and fresh clam chowder. Oh, those were the days…

Now my trips to the beach are comprised of walking or jogging along the shore, soaking in the sounds of the sea gulls and crashing washes. It is a precious time for reflection, soul searching, and soul-soothing. It is a way to work out problems or just let them go. It is a time to listen to God, the Universe, and to yourself. I swear I can feel my heart rate slow down.

My last visit to the beach was to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Kure Beach, North Carolina. Both are lovely places to visit. Myrtle Beach is no longer the sleepy beach town from years ago. High rise condos line the beach. There is plenty to do besides golf, for which it is well-known. They offer some great seafood restaurants, shows and venues for family entertainment.

From South Carolina, I took the ferry across to Kure Beach, North Carolina, in my rental car. I laughed when Google Maps said, “keep going for one more mile.” Apparently, it thought I was driving! Kure Beach IS still an unpretentious beach town where the standard attire is flip flops and a bathing suit. You can wear shorts and a shirt if you really want to dress up! They have a lovely beach, great restaurants and many special events such as outdoor music throughout the year. The best part was meeting up with old friends! When you are a solo-traveler, it can be a welcome break to see a familiar face or two.

For those who have never gone to the beach, I highly recommend it. Save your pennies, dimes and nickels. Save your lunch money, coffee money, or whatever is necessary and find a way to visit the nearest ocean! Your soul will thank you.

What is the most exotic place you have ever been?

I love to travel and have been to a few exotic locations over the years, but have you ever thought of Egypt as a place to visit? Why not? The culture is rich; the people are friendly and the food is wonderful! What more could you ask for? On a recent trip I was able to stay at the Cairo Marriott, meet local street vendors, visit the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, ride a camel, see the INSIDE of two pyramids and even swim in the Nile! This may sound like a visit way outside your comfort zone, but you could experience such an adventure, too. All it takes is some pre-planning, a good travel agent and a spirit for adventure.

Just think about it – YOU really could live your best life, including traveling to exotic places! Come back soon and find out “Where in the World is Janie J?” In the meantime, you can leave your email address at JanieJ.net . You will be notified of the release date of my upcoming book, “Live the Life You Have Imagined”.

Camel
Ever ride a camel?

Where in the World is Janie J?

Hi and welcome to my new blog titled, “Where in the World is Janie J?”

Many of you have commented that I always seem to be traveling, so I decided to let you know more about where I am and what I am doing. All this hoopla is in the spirit of encouraging each one of you to live your best life! To me, living your best life means travel and lots of it, so one can experience other cultures and to reach just outside our comfort zone into the unknown.

Once upon a time, it was not considered lady-like to travel alone. No more! Women are traveling the world solo and having great experiences. Why not you?