Category Archives: Inner Spirit Life

Real life after playing competitive sports

With the Olympic Games happening this week, the world is watching the world’s most elite and dedicated athletes compete for the status of being an Olympic medalist. For some of them, it will lead to short term glory, an endorsement deal and being a household name. For the majority of them, however, the ‘real world’ that we all live and work in awaits them when they hang up their gear. Let’s face it — the majority of athletes are not Michael Phelps.


In this vintage photo, you will see a super skinny girl in the second row on the far right. That’s me! For ten years of my life, competitive swimming was a huge part of my life. I joined the swim team because I thought it sounded like fun. It was — I still have special bonds with all of the people I swam with to this day. The first year I swam I was terrible — and I have the third and fourth place ribbons to prove it!!

That year, however, was when my competitive spirit kicked in. I wanted to be better and I knew if I practiced hard enough that could happen. I knew I couldn’t be selected for a relay team if I wasn’t a team player, yet I couldn’t be considered for one if I wasn’t doing my personal best. I had a lot to learn and a long journey in front of me. So I practiced many hours (many, many, many hours) and swam up to 8,000 yards a day six days a week, and ultimately became an excellent swimmer. There was drama, laughter, successes, and losses — just like the real world.

But I was no Michael Phelps. (Who is?)

In the real world (life after chlorine) I started a business in 2002. The feelings of anticipation were the same as when I started swimming all those years ago — I had to start somewhere. I wouldn’t be good at first but with dedication, practice and being a team player, maybe I could become a success. Around that time I began seeking out established mentors in my industry who could share their knowledge with me, their personal journey, and their lessons learned. I set up my business plan, website, packages and marketing materials. I sat back and watched all the drama (not just with brides — those vendors have a way of creating their own drama in the industry!), learned, and focused on how to make the business a success.

I swam competitively for ten years — a term that spanned through high school and college. By the time I stopped, the big ‘swimming fish’ had made a name for myself in her little pond. However, I was primarily known as ‘the swimmer’ by most people in my ‘pond.’ The whole time I was swimming I had earned decent grades, so my focus and that same discipline were then applied just to my academics. 

I officially hung up my competitive swimming goggles 20 years ago, and a lot of new techniques and technology have made swimmers even better and more efficient than in my days. It is very exciting to watch all these Olympians destroy these records and swim these incredible times!

Today, eleven years into being a wedding planner, the entrepreneur journey has parallels to my swimming days. It took a lot of practice, learning, and being a team player. Like swimming, the journey has had lots of ups and downs, triumphs and losses. Today many know me as ‘the wedding planner,’ just like 20 years ago people knew me as ‘the swimmer’ in my little pond of Ohio. (That is exactly the reason I started this blog — there is so much more to me than just weddings! Yet another journey!)

I truly believe that playing sports gave me the foundation for the person I am today. It taught me discipline, teamwork, and gave me the confidence to know that hard work and focus can pay off in high rewards. 

Statistically, 2% of all high school athletes will play in college, and of that total 2%, 1% of them will play sports professionally. So the odds are, if you are a college athlete, you’ll hang up your gear when you graduate from college, just like the other 99% of the people in that statistic. (I hung mine up after Freshman year of college, but hung up my goggles during college nonetheless!) On the internet I found a copy of the last article written in the school paper at LeMoyne College about my last swim meet. (After that I transferred to Xavier to become a life long Muskie!)

The real world is a fun place too! Life is great off the court and out of the pool as well!

Kpl πŸ™‚

Life is short

This past weekend, my husband and I attended the memorial service for the father of his best friend’s wife. It was a reminder to both of us just how short and precious life is. Both Jim and I have dealt with the loss of family members taken too soon — his father and brother (both 54), and my sister (32) from cancer, my brother from a brain virus, all of our grandparents. 


When people say life is too short, it seems like a cliche. But in the blink of an eye, I turned 40. I remember my 21st birthday like it was yesterday! If you ask a person in the twilight of their life, they will mention a lot of the things listed above. They will also say that they wished they had walked away from unhealthy situations and relationships, enjoyed the little things in life, and to live for yourself and not other people.

How are you living your life right now? You can’t change the past but you have control over your future and what it holds. You will have obstacles — everyone will — but how you navigate those obstacles speaks to your strength, integrity and values. Those define who you are and your legacy.

Deep thoughts, but how are you living your life? Would your ten year old self be proud of who you have become?

Kpl πŸ™‚

ο»ΏBe Happy No Matter What: Book of the Month

Each month, I try to do something to improve my inner self and spirit. This month, I am reading “Be Happy No Matter What,” by Ellen Seigel. I won the book as a door prize at the Cincinnati eWomen network meeting and the timing couldn’t be more perfect!



I’ll be sure to write a review of it next week! If you are interested in hearing the author speak next week at the Dayton eWomen network meeting on Wednesday, June 8 from 11-1:30pm at Yankee Trace, contact me about how you can attend at no cost!Kpl πŸ™‚

Beauty in Sharon Woods

Today’s weather was beautiful! The sun is shining, a light breeze was blowing, the trees have green leaves on them again, and flowers are blooming. (This means that summer is finally on its way, correct?)


My husband and I decided to rent a pontoon boat after work for an hour ($45), and we enjoyed the beauty of Sharon Woods from the Sharon Woods Lake in Sharonville. (This is the same lake I like to jog around — it is 3 miles around. Two times around gets that magical 10,000 steps per day!)

I took these photos of a pelican from the boat. I didn’t realize we had them in Ohio!

This family of geese also swam over to the boat to say hello.

It is hard to see, but this photo is a mama duck with some very tiny baby wood ducks.

You can also rent paddle boats, kayaks, and power boats. Rates can be found by visiting the Great Parks website. (You can see them behind me in this selfie.)


So the next time you are looking for a nice time out with nature, look no further than your State Parks for relaxation.

Kpl πŸ™‚

Staying and keeping focused

So I will admit … I got off the blogging bandwagon for a few weeks. Everyone gets in a funk, right? First I got a cold, then my husband got back to back episodes of gout. So needless to say between that and the rainy weather, I wasn’t working out the way I normally do. When I don’t work out I get out of my routine, I feel sluggish and depressed, and my rhythm gets off.
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When we are children we are provided with a structured routine — breakfast, go to school, sports, church — but when we are adults you need to create your own structure. If you are a stay at home parent, work from home or are self employed, that structure is even harder!  


Here are some tips about how to get and stay in a routine

(1) Exercise in the morning. You may need to get up an hour earlier but giving yourself that opportunity to stretch both your mind and body after a good night’s sleep will jump-start you for the day. Plus releasing all of those endorphins will put you into a great mood!

(2) Go to bed the same time every night and remove technology from your bedroom. A bedroom was meant for sleeping, not watching TV. A lot of people (myself included!) use their cell phone as an alarm clock, but the temptation is there to pick it up and Facebook, play games and read blogs (like this!) during the night when you can’t sleep.

(3) Eat breakfast after you work out. Your body will continue to burn off the calories longer during the day if you do this. Instead of eating, drink a glass of lemon water when you first wake up and drink water throughout your workout.

(4) Set a list of goals for the next day the night before. Before I close up shop for the night, I create a list of everything I need to do for the day while it is fresh in my mind. This will keep you focused on what you need to accomplish the next day and during the week.

(5) Take mental breaks throughout the day. Every 45 to 90 minutes, try to take a 15-20 minute break to recharge your thoughts and refocus your energies. Complete a task before taking a break to help you feel a sense of accomplishment.

I’ll stay focused (on blogging better this month) if you do! πŸ™‚ kpl

Time Out … For Adults

When a child misbehaves, or needs to change and shift their behavior, the adult in charge puts them into a time out for one minute for each year. After the time is up, the adult tells the child why they were put into time out and asks for an apology. Once received, the adult allows the child to continue on with their day.

  
Why, as adults, do we not use this practice on ourselves? Did we suddenly become so perfect? Of course not! As a child, our parent or guardian kept us accountable for bad behavior. Today, we are the accountable adult that keeps our behavior in check.

How can you, an adult, use the techniques of a time out to improve your bad behavior?

 (1) Recognize when you are not being productive or when you are engaging in bad behavior. This can mean anything — bad behavior can include eating bad foods, yelling at someone, surfing the internet at work, or not being productive at the office.

(2) Write down your bad behavior on a piece of paper, ideally in a ‘time out’ journal. By writing down your bad behavior, you’ll be able to remind yourself later of why you put yourself in a self imposed time out. By putting it into a journal, you can elaborate later about how you got to that mental place to begin with, and see if you have a consistent pattern of putting yourself into a time out for the same thing. It will help you identify if a patterned ‘time out’ is a habit you need to change.

(3) Take your time out. As an adult, though, you don’t have to stand in a corner. Ideally, go for a walk, sit on a park bench, or take a bath for one minute for each year of your age. You can also opt to go for a jog or a power walk if your schedule allows. During your time out, you are not allowed to watch TV — that part hasn’t changed! πŸ™‚ If time constraint is an issue, your time out should be a minimum of 15 minutes. The most important thing is that you find a change of scenery.

(4) Read your note from step 2. After your time out, read the note about why you put yourself there in the first place. Reflect now, with a clearer head, what you feel you were doing wrong or what your changed perspective is. Write down your thoughts below the quote.

(5) Apologize to yourself and do a five second ‘self hug.’ Reward yourself for recognizing your ‘bad behavior’ with a self hug. Embrace yourself and close your eyes for five seconds. Then, put your journal away and move on with your day!

You will feel refreshed, have an altered shift of personal energy, and be empowered to conquer the rest of your day. Enjoy!! Kpl πŸ™‚

We learned life’s best lessons as a child…

…but somehow, as adults, we forget the simple lessons that life has taught us.  This image spoke to me today. Each and every one of us has our own inner power. Whether you’re an athlete, business owner, or trying to take control of your lifestyle, the simple fact is YOU have the power to be great. Everyone has the power to do great things. The willingness to “just do it” is what separates the people who wish they could and those who actually are doing it.

What is holding you back? Are you holding yourself back? Are other people and negative influences around you holding you back? Why aren’t you doing something you want to do?  “Where there is a will there is a way. Great accomplishments can happen with hard work, personal drive, a goal and a dream.” Kpl πŸ™‚ 

#peachykeenlife #healthylife #businesslife

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Do you need a social media detox?

In today’s media driven world, do you want a simple detox that tastes great, doesn’t require you to eat any different foods or more water, and is guaranteed to shed weight? Well, here it is! It’s a one day social media detox — you simply unplug!

  
Think about how many hours a day you spend on the internet. What exactly do you do? During the week I use it for work purposes, but at night I am typically on Facebook learning more about my friends than I ever wanted to know, reading tabloids about people who don’t even know my name, and watching shows that will likely be cancelled in a few years. (My husband — well, he loves the 20/20 and Dateline shows about people who have been murdered who he has never met and whose families have no idea he is watching it!)

Why do we waste our lives away with all of this information? Think about the person who tells you more than you want to know — isn’t your first reaction “TMI,” too much information? That information is the extra weight, weighing you and your ability to focus on bettering your own life and situation. What if you took that approach with your social media and television? Last weekend my husband and I spent a day going around town, running errands and enjoying the beautiful weather. We both felt so refreshed when we came home even though we had walked 5,000 steps! 

  
I challenge you, this week, to take one day to unplug. No social media, no TV…music is ok. The next day, see if you feel more relaxed. This is why I typically unplug on Sundays. The Lord said that we should keep ‘the Sabbath day holy,’ so no work on Sundays. (Unless I have a wedding, which are typically at a church anyways, so hopefully God sees it as a good compromise!) Or choose A DAY this week to unplug — just from social media. I guarantee you will feel a lot less overwhelmed, you won’t compare your life to someone else, and you will focus on the beautiful life you have in front of you. And you will focus on making that grass greener for you, your family, and those you share your life with!

  
So who is ready for this detox? Kpl πŸ™‚

What makes you happy!?!

  
For Pharrell, we know that ‘humming along’ makes him ‘happy.’ But what makes you happy?

I was spending so much time focusing on making other people happy that I have forgotten what makes my heart sing. As a result, I started becoming incredibly stressed out, irritable and unhappy. I love my bridal couples and wedding vendor friends, don’t get me wrong — but besides them, I didn’t have any other outlets besides my husband and my cat.

Last year, I connected with my friend Amy, and she and I talked about how I used to swim competitively during high school and college. I hated looking at myself in the mirror because I had picked up more than 70 pounds since college and I felt so sluggish. She told me that you make time for priorities, and 30 minutes a day could easily become a priority. That didn’t sound too hard, but I was concerned about my lupus putting up a fight. (That’s largely where the weight came from — the drugs that saved my life.) She encouraged me to try anyway, and I started doing Les Mills Combat and embarked on a healthy eating routine. One year later, I am now 40 pounds healthier, have a great virtual support network, and have a passion for eating clean and organic. 
Before opening the wedding planning business, I used to perform and work on the production team for community theater. I sang as a cantor at our church, and in the past I had sung the national anthem at the Xavier Men’s Basketball homecoming game, the Buffalo Sabres, the Toledo Mudhens and the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. I wanted to have a career in musical theater at one point. So what happened? Why did this passion leave my life? Music and theater had always been such a great creative outlet for me.

The lessons I learned this past year? Simple — in order to take care of others you need to take care of yourself.

(1) You make time for things that are priorities. If you really want to make a commitment to do something you will find the time. There are 24 hours in a day — eight are spent sleeping, ten are spent working, two are spent eating — what will you do with the remaining four? How will you spend your 32 hours of your ‘awake time’ on your days off? That is up to you!

(2) Set boundaries. If you don’t someone else will for you. Saying ‘no’ isn’t a bad word, it is simply a decline.

(3) Make a date with yourself each day. Whether it be a 30 minute workout, meditation, journaling, bubble bath, a walk in the park, cooking to music — it doesn’t matter. Make a date with yourself each day. I carve out ‘Kathy time,’ which is time for me. I spend it alone doing something to make my body or spirit feel better. It is a great opportunity to recharge your battery and regroup to tackle the rest of life’s stressors the rest of the day!

What about my singing and performing bug that was inadvertently squashed? Jim and I recently rejoined our church, and I asked the office manager to tell the music director that I was interested in cantoring again. Her email back said ‘he’ll be so happy to hear you’re back, we need good cantors!’ It’s a start, right? I also hear there will be auditions for a show at the Sharonville Cultural Arts Center soon that will require an Atlanta accent! πŸ™‚

Don’t worry … Be happy now! (Ooo… ooo, ooo, ooo, Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo, Ooo, ooo, ooo, ooo….don’t worry…are you humming along?)

Kpl

Forge your own path (and don’t compare yourself to others!)

  

 One of my worst flaws is that I constantly compare myself to others. That person is skinnier than me, that person has a bigger house than me, this person is more successful than me…sound familiar? We all have done it at some point.

I have a friend who is traveling all over the world DJ-ing on cruise ships, and she has the most amazing Instagram. Another friend of mine from college is producing movies for Hallmark channel, and I just streamed one of her movies on my Time Warner app this evening. Yet another person I went to high school with has been on the cover of Fortune magazine and is a mentor on Shark Tank this season. What have I done? I have planned weddings for people in Cincinnati. I’m not famous, I don’t live in a big city, and I am certainly not rolling in the dough. I have always set my standards higher because that’s just me. I don’t want to be ordinary. When I start comparing myself to these people, however, I immediately feel like I’ve failed.

When I start having this line of thinking, I quickly remind myself of these four things. 

(1) You are special and unique, and you have been blessed with your own talents and life journey. Your path is not the same. You have qualities that no one else has. The path life has taken you on has made you into the person you are today. Your life, talents and experiences likely inspire more people than you realize. I was diagnosed with lupus and recovering from that that set me back a few years on growing my business. Right when my business was taking off, my husband and I moved to Cleveland for two years where I literally had to start over from scratch. We eventually moved to Cincinnati and it took a few years back to get where I was when we left. Some people may see these as obstacles, but they were learning experiences and I am a stronger person because of them.

(2) You don’t know what is going on behind the front door. You see what that person wants you to see, or shows you — which is likely 10% of the story. You see the achievements, the milestones, the Facebook posts and the money. What you don’t see is the years of struggle, failures, struggling marriages and medical issues. That person’s health may be failing, or their marriage might be on the rocks. You aren’t comparing yourself to their struggles though. 

(3) They have problems and struggles too. Nobody is perfect. We all have crosses to carry. If we didn’t we wouldn’t be human!

(4) They might think you’re perfect! Think about the social media posts you post. Do you post when your checking account overdraws, when you’ve gained 20 pounds, or lost out on booking that big client? Of course not! You post the good things, like winning an award, the photos from the great event you planner, or when you lost 40 pounds. In reading the 10% of what is actually going on in your life, others may think your life is perfect!

  
I think of a line from the movie “The Sixth Sense,” — people see what they want to see. When you compare yourself to others that is exactly what you are doing. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday to who you are today and who you want to be tomorrow. That is the healthiest way to compare yourself and continue to grow!

kpl πŸ™‚