Life’s LIMFACs

LIMFAC = limiting factors. So many acronyms.

Blooms in January

For the longest, and still today, I’m guilty of limiting myself via negative self talk. I think I thought it was humbling, but now I’m not sure. Saying things like “that’s not me” when exploring the possibility of doing something crazy or very self-serving. Not selfish, there’s a difference. For example, going back to school. Or, stating my name in a professional capacity.

Backstory. Recently I attended an awards ceremony where one of the nominees was introduced as Dr. (insert his name). I know him personally and credit him with encouraging me to get my doctorate. He’s always available for questions; in fact, when I asked him how crazy it was to take 2 courses simultaneously, he stated – paraphrasing – I didn’t do that but it can be done and you can do it, here’s how …

The empowerment and advice he provided was invaluable. So why don’t we empower ourselves in the same manner?

Back to the awards ceremony. I thought if that was my name up there, it would probably be read with my personal title, i.e., Ms. (insert my name). My thought was this: “The addition of Dr. My Name is just not me.”

WHAT? WHY NOT? Because that is me! Well, it will be. I earned every letter of that title and I should be proud of it. Humility or not be damned. The sacrifice, the tears, the brain power and dedication it takes to write until my eyes bleed – those things don’t just count for something, they count for ME! They are ME! How dare I limit myself by saying what is and isn’t me. I was created to do good things. I am empowered to do big things. I am and the highest I AM says so.

So when you think you’re humbling yourself by not speaking up for yourself or taking credit where credit is due, just remember the only LIMFACs are the ones you place on yourself. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

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I ask you –

Do you succumb to negative self talk?

What do you think isn’t you?

Forewarning: this will probably become a series as I have many LIMFACs to further discuss.

(The post Life’s LIMFACs first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Word Play

2023. Somehow this is where we’re at. Don’t blink! As I’m not into resolutions – hello, failure! – I prefer to focus on a word or phrase. 2022 was Praise. This year, I think it’s Strengthen.

I want to be strong in faith. Strong in body. Strong in dedication to my education. Side note: is that a song title? Dedication to education. haHa Focus, Kel. Strong in presence.

Interestingly, running isn’t exactly on this list. Well, it is, but not what it has looked like the past 5 years. Wow. I raced for 5 years. Or maybe just 4. I didn’t run a single race in 2022. Perhaps this explains the body differences. My weight is up, things fit a little differently now. But it’s just a season. And most of the time I remember to strengthen (there’s that word again) my stupid meniscus with all the cool things I learned in physical therapy. Spiky donut, anyone?!

Not bad, if I do say so myself

I want to refocus on some smaller things in order to be stronger at the big things. Like my career. Walking back into the gym felt like being home again. Natural rhythms resumed, the excitement of supervising personnel, being a catalyst for change: those things make me feel strong inside. So now it’s time to be just as strong on the outside as I am on the inside.

Pause.

In related news, maybe if I had Moonwalkers then I could really accomplish something! Check out this article on the latest development to help people get where they need to be faster: Moonwalker Article.

And, if there’s one thing I want to accomplish this year, it’s this: I want to be able to do unassisted pullups again. Like my mini proudly says – welcome to the gun show!

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I ask you –

What is your word or phrase or even resolution for 2023?

How many miles did you run the past year?

On a scale of 1 to spaghetti arms, how likely am I to reach my goal? 8!

(The post Word Play first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2023 Running on Fumes

Thinking Out Loud

or on paper.

This time last year – I wasn’t sure if I’d ever run again. The question many people have asked is “Was it worth it?” Even though I should probably say no because my health is more important than any race, the all-heart reply is absolutely yes. It was. It was worth the pain, worth the uncertainty, worth the PR I had arrived day in and out for. It was worth it, to me.

Now, the mind, the logical, reasoning part of my brain (albeit small) thinks I’m insane. How could something that jeopardized my literal ability to walk pain free be worth one stupid race? I should have stopped when the pain never did, I should have stopped when advised by medical personnel that I was running (no pun intended) the risk of seriously damaging my body, I should have stopped at the first pop of my knee. But I don’t listen well.

(from a previous post)

I probably won’t ever race again. I love training, I love running, and I don’t wish to give it up even though my seasons of running look much different now than they did a year ago. And that’s ok. It’s hard to believe by May I’ll have completed 5 courses towards my doctorate. Time really does fly. To think in Jan 2022 I documented on a visionary board I wanted to go back to school. Then, in June, I heard from someone else who had recently completed their own program. I made a call – one call – a few days later and by the next month I was enrolled. It all happened so fast.

Yay! More books!

Sometimes the things that are meant to be happen quickly. Sometimes we miss the signs of impending disaster – or choose to turn a blind eye to it. And sometimes good things come when least expected.

Final thought – I read this line somewhere and it really rang true – the feeling of magic will disappear. You are responsible for your own enjoyment.

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I ask you –

Have you ever blatantly disregarded advice? Who hasn’t?!

Do you agree you are responsible for your own enjoyment?

Tell me your thoughts on a vision board!

(The post Thinking Out Loud first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

Bamboozled

What’s another word for bamboozled? Let me tell you a little story –

There once was a little girl who began to come home with self-reported blurry vision and headaches. Her mother was very worried and made an eye appointment with a trusted optometrist. The closest appointment wasn’t for a few weeks so the girl’s mother called several times to ask for cancellations and open slots. Lo and behold, an appointment opened and the girl was able to be seen about 10 days before the originally scheduled appointment.

The little girl was so happy. She behaved extremely well during the exam and dilation process. But when the doctor arrived in the room, he explained there was nothing wrong with the girl’s eyesight.

But there is a behind the scenes story not many are privy to. You see, the girl’s entire family struggled with vision issues. Nearly all wore glasses or some sort of eye correction. So when the girl complained of eye problems, it came as no surprise.

Further, the girl’s eyesight seemed to change nearly daily. Sometimes she requested to sit closer to the television because she just couldn’t see. Other times she seemed fine and would sit further back. The lack of consistency in her vision was puzzling. One minute could see a sign in the distance, the next not so much. Her mother began to wonder.

When the doctor said he couldn’t find a reason for the girl’s inability to see, the mother accepted it as truthful. After all, the girl had been examined with multiple instruments, including dilation and had taken special pictures to see the entire eyeball. Fascinating really. The only thing the doctor could come up with is perhaps the girl needed a slight prescription for readers. The girl was overjoyed at this news.

Later that evening, the girl went to pick out her new pair of glasses. As she gleefully examined things through the lenses of her beautiful blue light glasses (note: blue light glasses, not readers, not a pair of glasses with any Rx tied to them), she proudly explained to anyone who would listen how her new glasses helped her see. Suddenly she was running again (which she had stopped doing for fear of falling). She showed off the glasses to strangers and asked photos be sent to all her relatives sharing her blue spectacles.

During homework that same night, the young girl read every word easier than ever. Seems blue light glasses solved her every concern, as well as knowing her many friends who also have glasses would welcome her with open arms into their exclusive club. Her teacher would be so excited for her. Her family’s admiration would live on endlessly.

The placebo effect is real. If you don’t believe me, just ask my mini. She’s an expert!

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I ask you –

Did you ever bamboozle your parents?

Do you wear spectacles?

Tell me your thoughts on the placebo effect!

(The post Bamboozled first appeared here at Running on Fumes.)

© 2022 Running on Fumes

Civilian Mentoring Connection

Picture this: a room full of people and you’re waiting on your name to be called to find out who your mentor will be. Spoiler: I was chosen last. But sometimes they save the best for last because I was paired with an incredible woman we’ll call Big Booty Judy (BBJ). Don’t laugh yet. I had spoken to her via phone many times previously and liked her. Turns out she chose me. The rest is history.

Civilian Mentoring Connection (CMC 101) was something I volunteered for knowing it did have a substantial time commitment. Myself and approximately 10 other people would be meeting twice a week for several months, including meeting with our mentor as often as possible outside of these formal gatherings. Luckily, BBJ understands my job and what I do so we had a mutual agreement to get things on the calendar as soon as possible.

…and then we blew stuff up! Small exaggeration. They did visit EOD which I heard was a lot of fun. It’s been rescheduled a few times since so I’m just waiting my turn for the next time. We’ve also discussed workplace communication, email etiquette, TSP (thrift savings plan), and other things I probably slept through. Kidding! I love this stuff.

Big Booty Judy – is actually the nickname for my mentor’s black Corvette. At our first informal get together, she shared her naming convention with me. Somehow I knew then we were meant to be. She has given me much insight into the world of civil service and helped me navigate some tricky setbacks. If you ever have an opportunity for a mentor – get one! Promise. 14 weeks later, my mentor, Stacey, is still one of the best parts of CMC.

The tenants of civilian mentoring connection are Connect, Grow, & Inspire. Indeed it impacted me in each way. Connect – as I’m inherently a people person anyway, connecting with others is kind of my thing. I love being able to connect with people I work with so this opened up many doors. Grow – I learned more about what other squadrons, groups, and work centers do (and how it accomplishes the overall mission). Growth is multifaceted. Inspire – after two personnel spoke on their journey to complete their doctorate programs, it re-solidified my desire to go back to school. As I’ve already shared many times before. It reminded me of my dream and the different avenues to achieve it.

As our graduation day ended and I reconvened with my partner in crime, Heidi, she asked if I intended to complete CMC 102. Then she gave me a knowing smile and stated “I thought you had school! I thought we were taking a break!”, followed by her words “I’ll do it if you are!”

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I ask you –

Does your workplace offer any mentoring opportunities?

Have you ever participated in a program like CMC?

Share with me a recent graduation accomplishment!

Tricky Conversations

“The start of doubt is the ending of trust.”

In financial terms, this means our generosity is directly linked to our ability to believe we have all we need. But money really isn’t ours anyway. Growing up extremely poor meant money was just a pipe dream. I learned its value very quickly. As a result, parts of my brain, I believe, are truly changed in response to a constant fear of living without. Money is a worrisome part of my life – even though I have no need to be worried. My needs are covered.

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov on Pexels.com

Recognizing these 36 years are all I know and I can’t compare it to something longer, the divisiveness in our country is saddening. There aren’t many people I know who can just “be” around others without talk of political affiliation, religion, or world news. I’m not saying these topics aren’t important; I am saying they don’t define a person and I don’t care to label someone because of it. As I recently sat in a room of people who “assumed” a few things about me, (more than assumed, it was crystal clear they intrinsically believed I was just by showing up) many words were being thrown around as commonplace.

My intent was to listen. But when I was referred to as “them”, my unapologetic voice made its presence known. I am a me. Sadly, the person who I was responding to wouldn’t even look me in the eye. Zero acknowledgement. What I believe is not an ideology, as it was stated. An ideology is a belief system that underpins a political or economic theory. Political or economic. Faith (or religion as some may say) is not an ideology. I can clearly state my belief system and why it’s there; therefore, moot point. I believe we were created to protect life, but I also served to protect one’s choice.

Disclaimer: Fully realizing my readers were not there and it’s hard to describe the room dynamics whilst being very protective of the participants, I do my best to be inclusive and respectful. I think my point in sharing this experience here is to say you don’t know what someone is going through or where they’ve been. Conversations in the workplace, especially in the federal government, are tricky right now. Everyone wants to be heard. But, at the end of the day, we all remove whatever uniform we wear and we’re simply us. I stand behind my statement ‘You don’t really know what you’ll do until you’re in that moment.’ Either way, it’s not my right to judge and I’m incredibly thankful for this truth.

Lastly, please do some research on which amendments are which before you embarrass yourself. And…vote! Change starts with you.

___________________________

I ask you –

Have you had tough conversations lately?

Are you registered to vote?

Hope you have had a safe and restful weekend!

It Might Be That Time

Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. A few weeks ago, I began the arduous task of searching online for colleges to make my doctorate degree dream a reality. Perhaps it was just an off day because the only thing it did was leave me frustrated and resigned to not fulfilling that dream. I kept finding programs with projected completion dates near the 8 year mark. And the cost? Guess again. Even with tuition assistance, etc., it was beyond me.

Chalkboard = Dinosaur

Fast forward to end of last week when I attended a brief on how to make civilian programs work for you. You, the commoner. 90 mins later, I returned to my office with motivation, a renewed purpose, and some homework. Operation phD! Using TA in conjunction with the GI Bill should result in a reasonably affordable degree in T-minus 3 years. Doable. I might even be able to maintain my sanity and a slight social life. As long as I can write papers while we talk. That’s normal, right?

I’ve chosen a school, a program, and am in the process of finagling funding. Making military service work for me. Honestly, when I joined the Navy, I didn’t think it would be useful for obtaining another degree. For some reason I was under the impression it wouldn’t pay for anything beyond a master’s and since I already had one it wouldn’t pay for a second either. During eval season it was difficult for me to show I was progressing professionally outside of the Navy because my points were already full. So I said I wanted to learn how to whistle. And it did not go over well. My goal is to finish in 3 years or less…I even timed it not to interfere with anyone else who may be graduating. No show-stealing. Even though I didn’t quite get going when I said I would (by the time mini is 5 – she’s now 6), this is a valid goal no matter her age. Or mine. She will still get to experience mommy’s rapidly increasing number of gray hairs. And long nights of writing. Welcome to adulthood, girlie!

school supplies

The last time I went to school was over 11 years ago. I’m one of those complete whackadoo’s who really miss school. I love it! My master’s program was fantastic. All we did was write so of course. The feeling of accomplishing a lengthy paper or assignment is like an adrenaline rush all over my body. It’s figuratively my drug of choice. Drugs are very expensive. So I’ve heard. Anyway. I remember switching careers a year into the master’s degree wondering why I thought that was a good idea. Not only did I have to learn a new job but I also had to find time to write double digit papers on a new schedule. No big moves on the horizon this time – in fact I’m hoping this is the final straw I need to progress in other places.

Alas, I still can’t whistle. But I’ll have “Dr.” before my name so who cares.

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I ask you –

Who wants on my commencement guest list? Location: TBD.

Anyone interested in volunteering to teach me how to whistle?

Tell me your highest level of education! I want to share in your accomplishments.

Resiliency Revolution

Occasionally I accept as a compliment what people say when it fact it isn’t. That’s a you problem! For example, someone in my office stated “You’re always doing something.” I saw them smile as the words exited their mouth so, naturally, I thought it was a good statement. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I have no idea. But it got me thinking – am I doing too much?

Credit: mytherapistsays via Instagram

My predominant belief is I should/like to give my time and effort to select things. In the Navy, we were encouraged to participate in everything. The problem here is you can’t give even 60% of yourself to 10 obligations. Hello, short stick. I chose (and often got dirty looks) for giving my time to 2-3 collateral duties. Those duties deserved my attention. Fast forward to the Air Force, the duties are called additional duties yet the volun-told status is still in effect. This is why… I take the initiative to cultivate and choose my own additional duties.

Introducing the Resilience Training Assistant (RTA). After a very involved two-day, interactive, emotional course, they felt I was qualified for certification. Yippee! I recognize resilience is a military buzzword; however, it is something I truly believe in because it can be used to reframe the culture of mental health stigma, as well as foster the conversations between military personnel both up and down the chain of command and within all branches. Yes, I know that’s a lot to ask. At the time of viewing the list of qualified personnel on base (nearly 40 people), I only recognized 2 of the names. TWO. Clearly there’s a problem because it means I didn’t know them from resiliency efforts, but from other duties.

Super incredible classmates!

The next hurdle is attending the Master Resilience Trainer (MRT) course at Maxwell AFB. Genuinely looking forward to a TDY. In the meantime, there’s a huge need to provide this curriculum to squadrons, groups, and all personnel. My vision is to ensure the word resiliency doesn’t go the way of other buzzwords, aka out of sight/out of mind. I want people to talk to each other when they’re hurting, when they’re struggling, when they need help. Billions of dollars a year are spent on (I’ll say it) completely useless things – why aren’t we spending money and time on changing culture instead? It costs nothing to empower others.

“If you’re self-aware enough to be self-deprecating, your IQ must be high!” – Will Lannon

We’re going to spark a revolution!

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I ask you –

Have you ever heard of Resiliency Training?

What are some buzzwords in your profession?

Tell me about a time you participated in a culture-changing curriculum!

How God is Better than a Cup of Coffee

Like the coffee pot that beckons me from the comfy confines of bed, He speaks to my soul, enticing me to return to Him. To share a cup of coffee and a chat early in the morning before the world awakens.

  • Don’t check email until you check your heart.
  • Don’t turn on the news until later in the day. I guarantee it will still be there when you’re ready.
  • Protect your mornings like you protect your coffee cup, just as He protects you.
early morning magic

His reservoir never needs refilling – He refills mine. His endless love is like a direct tap to the machine. It never runs out. Like the routine, the ritual even, of making my coffee exactly the way I like it, He requires no standard except to worship Him with my whole heart.

Appreciate the smell and body of a well-seasoned coffee cup, listen as it pours into your favorite mug, moving your hand slightly to stir in the creamer and sugar source, then raise it to your lips for a brief sip of your creation. He appreciates who we are because He created us, in is image, perfectly imperfect, wonderfully made. He listens as we pour out our praise and petition, our goals and dreams, according to His perfect will. He moves His hand within our life, making all things new, even us, making the trees and flowers grow. We raise His name on our lips, the name of the Most High, of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.

As the day goes on and I find myself drawn to a caffeine fix to make it through the final push of the day, His word reminds me to pray first. He listens intently and watches all knowingly. My path is His will.

afternoon details

Before I came to Texas, someone amazing told me not to drink the kool-aid of the Bible belt. This person tops my daily prayer list. If only you knew how freeing it is to put your hope in a higher power, the highest power. There’s a spiritual element in everything we do and touch. I pray for God to touch each and every life, but even more for those to willingly come to Him, with an empty cup and a willingness to be refilled. He has an endless supply of love to give. It never runs out. You were bought at a price. Inflation could never touch the debt that has been paid for our life.

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I ask you –

How many cups of coffee do you drink daily?

How do you take your coffee? Sugar-free vanilla creamer and SF cinnamon roll syrup.

Choose one: making coffee at home or patronizing a coffee shop.

Producing Vision

“A vision clarifies purpose, helps establish priorities, motivates commitment, maximizes productivity, and fuels passion. A vision is a specific desire that God has for our future. It gives us a direction to head in. A vision grows out of a need that we see around us, something so strong we can’t get it out of our minds.” – Anonymous

He had a dream. I need a vision statement. As part of my (ongoing, yearly, monthly) goal to grow my blog not only into a widely read source but also into a business, a clear vision statement is necessary.

My friend Morgan from Oregon shared with me a booklet called Unravel Your Year. It’s free and available on the website. Basically, you sit for a few minutes or hours, drinking your favorite tea or whiskey whilst reminiscing on years gone by and how you can incorporate lessons learned into not being a complete idiot the next time. That’s the gist. By the way, it’s 59 pages. But who’s counting. Short story long, I’m doing it! Because what better things do I have to do with my limited time. Truthfully, I jest, but I really do want to use some self-discovery in determining where and how Running on Fumes can grow. There’s also that book still needing to be published. But I can only fry one fish at a time – the blog is the fish in the pan at the moment. No one says that, Kel. Stop it. I have been more intentional about using my planner(s) – one for home, one for work – to set tangible, mini goals. Granted it’s only mid-January.

I write with pens, too!

Focusing on the vision part. I believe there are big opportunities for me in 2022. There will probably be big setbacks, as well; that’s ok. Nothing comes easy. A vision is a lot like expectations. You can’t tell someone you have no expectations when asked, then, all of a sudden, have expectations needing to be met that weren’t clearly communicated when originally asked. Bitter much? Perhaps revisiting vision should be a regular occurrence.

I think this is why I’m enjoying the pages in the Unravel Your Year workbook – because each month of 2022 there is room for monthly reflections. It’s extremely easy for me to say I should revisit the vision portion, but let’s be honest…will you? Not without some reminders!

And, frankly, I love to write in whatever medium I can obtain; be it paper, computer, phone, napkins; I’m not picky. I just want to write.

Oh how that book publishing goal is staring me right in the face.

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I ask you –

Do you have a vision (statement or otherwise) for your blog, life, etc?

Any suggestions on writing a vision statement?

Tell me what you consistently find yourself writing on! Maybe yourself.