My first impression of the book was...what type of feminist manifesto-stuff did I pick up. In the opening pages it mentions the idea, but it clear that is not the case. I quickly discovered Lean In encourages all readers to become better leaders, employees, and parents.
Here are my Top 10 + 1 Takeaways:
Takeaway 1: Sandberg discusses gender equality…and the concept of imposter syndrome. Early in the book, she acknowledges the things that could be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better. The promise of equality is not the same as true equality.
Takeaway 2: I love this concept…. Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder. A survey in 2010 found that the average American had 11 jobs from the time they were 18-46.
Takeaway 3: Success is making the best choices we can…and accepting them. Do the best you can with what you’ve got.
Takeaway 4: Done is better than PERFECT.
Takeaway 5: It is impossible to control all the variables when it comes to parenting. Set obtainable goals.
Takeaway 6: Don’t be afraid to ask, even if it seems like a long shot. Every job will demand a sacrifice. The key is to avoid unnecessary sacrifice. This is extremely hard because our society values complete dedication.
Takeaway 7: In the current business model, we are told to fit in versus disrupting the status quo.
Takeaway 8: The simple act of talking openly about behavioral patterns makes the subconscious conscious.
Takeaway 9: All of us---men and women alike---have to understand and acknowledge how stereotypes and biases cloud our beliefs and perpetuate the status quo. Instead of ignoring our differences, we need to accept and transcend them.
Takeaway 10: Equal opportunity is not equal unless everyone receives encouragement that makes seizing those opportunities possible. Only then can both men and women achieve their full potential.
PLUS 1--- Fear often paralyzes us... What would you like to do if you weren’t afraid? And then go do it.
Listen to the Books Travel Life Podcast discussion the book:
This week’s Family Fun Friday focuses on my family’s top travel destinations in Omaha, Nebraska. The Children’s Museum of Omaha was our original destination. We left home at 4:00 a.m. hoping to visit the museum the same afternoon. We arrived and discovered that the museum was closed on Mondays. It was sad seeing the frowns on my kid’s faces. I almost had a “Clark Griswold” moment! It was okay because there was much more to do and explore in Omaha. Continue reading for my family’s top travel destinations in Omaha.
The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is the largest pedestrian bridge connecting two states. The pedestrian bridge crosses the Missouri River and connects Nebraska with Iowa. One of my favorite moments was when my son and oldest daughter discovered they could be a state away from their parents. Another comment they made was “I can stand in two states”. The view of the skyline in Omaha is beautiful at sunset and I recommend viewing it from the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.
I could see the Omaha Zoo from our hotel room and decided it would be a neat zoo to explore. We decided to drive the short distance to the Omaha Zoo, which is known as the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. The Omaha Zoo has the largest desert biome in the world. It is also known for having one of the world’s largest indoor rain forests.
Our kid’s favorite attraction in Omaha was the slides in the Gene Leahy Pedestrian Mall. This 10 acre riverside park is a short walk from Old Market Place. The riverside park has walking trails, historic and modern architecture, and you guessed it…SLIDES. This is a great way to have some family fun. The slides in the riverside park are steep and fast. My son found out that if you use wax paper you’ll go even faster and fly off the end of the slide. Another riverside park you might want to visit is Heartland of America. This park connects with the Gene Leahy Pedestrian Mall. Don’t miss the Heartland of America Fountain water and light show. The park is also full of military sculptures.
Our family had a great time visiting Omaha. The Omaha Zoo, riverside parks, and the pedestrian bridge were a total hit for my family.
(REVISITED THIS POST from LAST YEAR. I need to read this book again. )
I’ve spent the month of August studying the yama of Ahimsa. The yamas are the guiding principles of yoga. Yoga is designed to bring your awareness to your body and your thoughts. The first of these principles or yamas is Ahimsa which translates to nonviolence.
The first thing I found with Ahimsa is that everyone is at different levels. What Ahimsa is to one person is totally different for another person...and that’s OK. Some may still eat meat, some might still kill certain animals and insects, but each person is striving to be non-violent in their own way.
“Love lies at the core of nonviolence and begins with our love of self” (31).
What I love about Ahimsa is what I learned about myself. It’s part of human nature to put down ourselves. I discovered I’m violent to myself and went years without recognizing it. Negative self-talk brought and sometimes brings me down. I then would pass the negative energies to all those I came in contact.
When we are violent to ourselves it is hard to share love and peace to others. But, if we are loving to ourselves and at peace...our love and peace energy will pass on to others. The positive loving and peaceful thoughts will transform our environment and those around us.
“Nonviolence asks us to trust the other’s journey and love and support others to find their highest image of themselves, not our highest image of them” (33).
I’ve learned that nonviolence doesn’t just mean physical violence, but focuses inward to your thoughts and motivations.
Throughout the month, at times I would be angry at a particular circumstance and sometimes a particular person. Someone would cut me off in traffic or I’d receive an unexpected bill in the mail. I found myself thinking violently or wishing ill for person. As I reflected on what I was learning, I realized these negative and violent thoughts are not Ahimsa.
Adele, Deborah. The Yamas & Niyamas: Exploring Yoga’s Ethical Practice. Duluth, MN: On-Word Bound, 2009. Print.
I loved my first cruise experience and hope to go on another soon. As a first time cruiser, I had no idea what to expect, whether I would get sick, or what surprises would await me.
Below are a few tips for cruisers to the Bahamas on Carnival Elation:
First of all, I'm prone to motion sickness, so I used the Transderm-Scop 1.5 MG/3 Day patch. I was fine, although I felt like I was still on the ship two days after disembarking. My children used Dramamine a few times when they didn't feel well.
Ocean View Room
Pay the extra money for ocean view. The window is about 3'x4' and we enjoyed looking out at the open ocean as well as when we arrived to port. If you are budget conscious and you won't spend much time in your stateroom, I'm sure an interior room would be sufficient.
Get a travel package that offers the free dining option and buffet. Every evening we dressed up and ate in the Imagination Dining Room. We ate during the early dining (6 p.m.) time slot. I found this to be difficult to get ready for after excursions at the ports, but we made it work. For our children, the (8:15 p.m.) time slot probably would have been a little late for us. The food was great. I tried things I normally don't have the option to eat at home like duck, rabbit, and lamb. I also have a new favorite appetizer, calamari (squid). The desserts are heavenly. Our favorite was the Carnival Chocolate Melting Cake.
Wear slides or flip flops versus going barefoot. The decks are HOT!
Ports and Excursions
When booking shore excursions, research options before you leave. Booking through Carnival does cost more, but they GUARANTEE you will be back in time to reboard the ship before it leaves port. The cabs and tour groups on the island cannot 100 percent guarantee the same. Our experience with a local group was wonderful. Our guide, "Dr. Phil", took great care of us and drove us around in a 12 passenger van. He took us around the city of Nassau located on the island of New Providence. He also took us to Paradise Island and to Atlantis. I was $15 at the casino there so I was pumped.
We also enjoyed our excursion at Freeport. While I felt Freeport was more impoverished, Carnival took us to a private beach. As we docked, Carnival announced they had an additional excursion to offer. This excursion was a 12-mile bus ride through Freeport to a private Carnival beach for $19.95/person. It also included beach chairs and umbrella. We were at the beach a total of two hours.
I enjoyed both ports (Nassau and Freeport), but liked Nassau more. I think I liked Nassau more due to the proximity of the port. In Nassau, we docked in the downtown area where there was plenty of shopping, food and a public beach. Where in Freeport, we docked near an industrial area with little shopping and eating.
At every port, I felt safe due to the safe guards put into place for accurate identification as well as Coast Guard escorts as we entered and excited the ports. Locals couldn't gain access to the tourists without a permit within a secure area around the ship. The locals at the ports in the Bahamas will bargain with you. Caution: they will start with a high price, but will often come down.
There was plenty to do on the ship. The entertainment ranged from game shows, comedy shows, 80s rock sing-a-longs, Karaoke and a piano bar. Carnival provided options for our children to attend programs throughout the day and into the night.
No Cash Needed
While on the boat, no cash is needed. Everything you purchase is billed to your room via you Sail and Ship card. Lemonade, Water, Tea and Coffee are free, but alcohol and soda cost extra. You can buy a daily drink car for $49.99, but are limited to 15 alcoholic drinks a day. NOTE: It is my understanding you had to buy two cards one for each person over 21 so you couldn't cheat the system. I never verified this from a Carnival employee, but heard several people talking about it.
I was impressed by the great and helpful staff on the Carnival Elation. If I had any complaints it would be they expected a tip for EVERYTHING. For example, I bought a beer for $5.95 and the total bill was $6.48. It had a 15 percent gratuity already added to the bill. They also added gratuity for the water we had ordered to our room since we couldn't bring any aboard. NOTE: Carnival adds a per person rate for gratuity on your room bill. We were surprised by a $51.80 charge per person. We were tipping waiters, etc throughout our trip and only found this out the day before we got off the ship. We were told this is a charge we wouldn't have to pay. We paid some of the charge, but guest services were happy to reduce it for us.
The ocean is a beautiful place and I feel Carnival does have a responsibility and genuine care for the environment. General reminders through the loud speaker reminded guests not to litter into the ocean and the recommended the reuse of towels in the staterooms.
I will cruise again with Carnival, hopefully sooner than later. It was an enjoyable experience and a lot of fun. Bon Voyage!
The Flyers: In Search of Wilbur & Orville Wright by. Noah Adams traces the Wright Brothers journey to Kitty Hawk, NC and beyond in their quest to conquer human flight.
The Wright Brothers weren't engineers like most of the men attempting to become the first men to fly. The book shares their trials as well as triumphs as they went from bicycle building to aircraft construction. Adams discusses the initial journey to the Outer Banks as Wilbur and Orville were looking for an ideal place to take the first flight. In fact, Adams took the same journey by boat to Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk.
Adams cites historical sources as well as personal letters and telegrams sent between the Wright Brothers with their sister Katherine and their father. After their early flights, Wilbur and Orville consulted throughout the United States and Europe. In fact, Wilbur was flying in Le Mans, France when he received word of Orville's crash at Fort Myer, which killed Tom Selfridge. Selfridge was a West Point graduate.
The brothers continued to win contracts and train other pilots throughout the world. Despite the awards and records, they didn't allow their success to distract them from improving their aircraft and training others.
Adams concludes the book looking at the last few years of Orville's life. He discusses Orville distancing himself from his sister Katherine as she married at age 52. Orville refused to go to the wedding and had nothing to do with his sister after her marriage. He eventually visits her on her death bed.
I found it interesting the Wright Brothers were all about business and not about themselves. They wanted to succeed in teaching others the skills to fly and to make it safer. Their personality and selfless dedication makes them true American heroes.
Author Matti Friedman takes the reader directly into the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. He specifically discusses the Israeli battle against Hezbollah along the border towns with Lebanon, where he was based at an outpost known as "The Pumpkin."
Below are my four takeaways:
1. Peace between the nation of Israel and the Palestinians and most of the Middle East is complex and goes back to Biblical times.
2. When the soldiers returned home, they weren't sure if they were welcome as heroes or victims. The death of several soldiers being transported by helicopter changed the thinking of the family members of some of the soldiers. Meaning their actions and their orders from their leaders were in question by the general public, especially the mother's group protesting. This reminded me of the Vietnam War and the War in Iraq.
3. Life at the Pumpkin and most war zones are a mixture between two extremes: bored and dangerous.
4. Friedman does a wonderful job taking the reader full circle. He discusses what it was like to live at the outpost and in foreign areas hoping one day to revisit in a time of peace. The battle rages on, but he completed a visit back to the Pumpkin as well as the little cafe his fellow soldiers hoped to visit.
Feet stepped on...
Uncomfortable at times...
But a message that needs to be spread across the world in homes, churches, neighborhoods and schools...
The Justice Conference challenged me in different ways to look at myself, my community, and others. Before attending the conference I thought I was doing a great job loving like Jesus and loving my neighbor. Now, I KNOW I have improvements to make to truly live out the Gospel.
I've been challenged to look at the history of this country, it's origins and founders.
I've been challenged...to the core...to reevaluate the way of show love and treat others.
I've been challenged to get to the root of the Gospel instead of creating and making band aids without treating the root cause of the issues facing me and others.
I've been challenged to love as Jesus loved...NO EXCEPTIONS!
I've been challenged to listen more, talk less and build others up.
I've been challenged to be last, so one day I can be first.
I've been challenged to "find my riot".
I've been challenged to go closer to truly understand others.
I've been challenged to not be afraid...we are ALL human!
I've been challenged not to be silent when we see a brother being ridiculed.
I've been challenged to be a person that loves anyway!
The weekend was full, challenging and uplifting. As I process what I've learned, I know one thing...
...the work continues and I'm going to do my part!
I'm getting old...
As I was watching my students graduate, it randomly hit me that I graduated 20 years ago to the week. I've been navigating through this thing we call life for 20 years. Oh, the stories I would tell and the advice I would give that 17-year-old kid who was really clueless about the world. The kid who struggled finding a career and purpose until his late 20s; even though it was there all along. The kid who hid his creativity for so long since he worried what others thought.
Fast-forward...20 years...I've decided to share the advice I'd give this 17-year-old kid in my new book "Life is an Adventure: 40 Lessons I Wish I Learned at 20". Since it's taken me twenty additional years to learn these lessons, I wonder where I'd be if I would have learned these lessons before graduating high school.
I'm confident these lessons have the potential to change the direction of your life whether you're 17 or 47. The book is interactive with plenty of white space to journal, make lists and draw. I'll be posting periodically about the progress, but hoping to release it before the end of 2017!
I'm missing another writing conference this week in North Carolina. It didn't work with my budget or schedule this year. Seeing so many posts from writing friends has sparked me to scrounge up some cash and register for the upcoming Write to Publish Conference June 14-17th at Wheaton College near Chicago.
This year I've decided not to go with a pitch or a manuscript, but to go with the mindset to learn and network. That's it. Learn and network!
This will be hard for me, but I think it's important. In the past, I've been overwhelmed and stressed about landing a publishing deal that I haven't taken the time to enjoy, learn and network.
Not saying...I don't have a book in mind or a project in progress, but I'm not pitching it. NOT pitching it. Just going to learn and network. Learn and network!
Is anyone going to Write to Publish? I'd like to meet you and hear all about your writing projects. Send me a message, Tweet at me on Twitter or comment below! Hope to see you in June!
Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally by. Kelly Starrett and TJ Murphy puts to rest the myth that shoes are the cause for most people's running injuries. They provide a variety of evidence from their experience, interviews from doctors and other researchers to show that weak areas of our body contribute to the running injuries we experience.
Starrett and Murphy provide a framework of 12 standards for runners to test themselves. They also provide a list of exercises to work on and build strength in the weak areas of the body to prevent or recover from a running injury.
Below are my Top 5 Takeaways:
1. Enjoy a lifetime of running -- Starrett writes "the key to enjoying running for a lifetime lies within the body itself, and your job is to pave the way." Enjoying running starts with being healthy running. Making sure to stretch and take care of your muscles, connecting tissues and more. Find the root of the pain and correct it through strengthening exercises.
2. Go barefoot as much as possible-- Being barefoot strengthens and mobilizes your feet. If you live near the beach, it's a lot easier going barefoot than if you live where there is rocky soil and clover with bees everywhere. Starrett suggests spending as much time as possible barefoot to strengthen your feet.
3. Bring all pain and problems to the surface-- When you hurt or become injured, don't mask the injury and continue running. If it hurts, STOP! Runners should know their bodies enough to know whether the pain is from pushing yourself or their is an issue causing the pain. Analyze the pain and if it's caused by a possible injury stop. I know this all too well. I continued to run with an injury and I'm just now beginning to build mileage after a few months of short 1 mile runs.
4. Sit as little as possible...find ways to stand--This can be difficult for me at times since I do a lot of computer work. Take time every hour to stand. If possible, raise your computer to a level where it is possible to stand. Lots and lots of research exists and tells us that sitting is killing us.
5. You can improve-- Starrett says it's important to "celebrate the opportunity to improve. It is performance just lying there waiting for you to grab it." It starts with the attitude it is possible to get better. Knowing it's possible to improve is the driving force behind making lifestyle changes. Start today!
is an English Teacher, Registered Yoga Teacher, writer, journalist, former Scholastic Inc. Blogger, aspiring entrepreneur, and founder of The Writers App.