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.
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.