You Always Have a Reason to Smile

Whew!

I can finally sit down and breathe! The menus are shipped, my eleven mile run is in the bag, and the house is clean…I am definitely ready for the weekend!

Tomorrow I have the end-of-the-season party for my volleyball girls. I can’t believe that our season is actually over…I still feel like it’s August and we just started! Our last game was on Monday, and after our victory I presented the girls with a scrapbook that I made for them.

Throughout the season I gave the girls a few little homework assignments. The first assignment was to write about something that they are really good at. The second assignment was to write about their proudest moment or a time when they did something that they thought would be impossible. The third was to write down five strengths, the fourth was to write about what makes them smile, and the last little assignment was to write down one word that described our team or season.

The little volleyballers completed all their assignments, but each time they seemed a little confused. Why is coach making us do this?

Good question girls.

I would have to say one of the best qualities of our team was that we maintained a positive attitude going into each practice and every game. The girls didn’t put each other down or put blame on each other when we lost. They went into every day with a smile.

However, there are going to be times in life…especially middle school and high school…when people aren’t so positive, when the world seems gloomy, and when a person’s self-worth will be harmed. Writing down the things that you’re really good at, your strengths, will serve as a reminder that you really are awesome…

…and that you always have a reason to smile.

I took all of their words and created a scrapbook page for each of them. The book is residing in the school library so they will always have it there as their own reminder.

I think it’s important for everyone to do this. I challenge you to sit down and write out your own answers to these questions and put it somewhere where you’ll be able to see it and be constantly reminded.

ang

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Reasons to Smile

Unfortunately, I haven’t really felt like writing lately. I’m sure this is pretty obvious since I haven’t been active on this blog since early last week. To be honest, I just can’t seem to get to feeling like myself lately and I don’t know why.

When I sat down to write today’s blog post, I didn’t have a plan of what I would write about. The first thoughts that came to my head were to complain about life and to whine about not having a real job or being in school. Yuck.

Instead, I realize that I have to power to overcome my horrendous mood by reminding myself all the things I have to be happy about right now.

Number one: Coffee.

I love my little Keurig and chai latte flavored creamer. The only negative about this is that I can only make one cup at a time.

Number two: My new planner.

It has the calendar for the month, and then it has pages for day by day. I love this because I can write a to-do list for every day…crossing things off a to-do list equals feeling productive…something I need!

Number three: Ali on the Run’s first marathon race recap! It has been beyond inspiring to read her blog as she has trained for her first marathon, all while battling Crohn’s disease and raising over $20,000 for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. Her recap brought tears to my eyes and made me want to run another marathon tomorrow!

Number four: KNMS girl’s volleyball.

My little volleyball team is having a great season so far, and they make me smile on a daily basis. I had a light bulb moment the other day when I was complaining to my running buddy about not currently being in school. She reminded me that if I was in school right now then I wouldn’t have been able to coach the girls. As much as I hope I’m teaching them about volleyball, competition, and being a team, they are a big part of my happiness right now, too. I need them.

Number five: My volleyball team’s homework assignment.

I asked each girl to write about their proudest moment or a time when they did something that didn’t think was possible. I loved reading each other their little stories, and yet again, they didn’t cease to make me smile (and giggle)!

Number six: Duh.

Does this one even need an explanation?

What is making you smile now?

ang

I Can Do Anything

Writing this blog has done wonders for me. Writing has been very therapeutic and has immensely improved my overall attitude and body image. Writing has made me feel closer to many family members and friends as they have commented and been a part of My Pinky Toes’ journey. Writing has allowed me to “meet” new people and make so many new friends that I never thought possible.

Writing has been very humbling.

As much as this blog has done for me, I am just in awe when someone writes back or leaves comments that they love my blog or that I am an inspiration. On days when I am down and write about it on my blog, I am shocked at the immediate support that my blog friends leave for me.

It is also humbling, but at the same time extremely exciting that almost on a daily basis someone puts their cursor in the google search bar and types…

…and they can find my blog.

It’s kind of amazing.

I decided to do the search myself and see what I found. After clicking through the first fifty pages of search results I still hadn’t come across my blog. However, these fifty pages don’t even put a dent in the one billion, seven hundred and sixty million (plus) results for “I can do anything.” It’s also an amazing thing that there are that many results for such a phrase (and quite honestly amazing that so many people are searching for it!)

Along my way through the first fifty pages of search results I passed over several blogs…some of which I recognized! There was one post from the Fit Bottomed Girls about running a marathon (yeah!) and another post from one of my all-time favorite bloggers Ali (who will soon run her first marathon!)

I’m honored to be a small part of this “We can do anything” team.

Yeah. I just made that team up. But I like it. So go with it! 🙂

Speaking of the fact that we can do anything, I will be proposing a new assignment to my little volleyball girlies this afternoon. On a few occasions I have heard the most dreaded phrase that any coach, especially a coach on the We Can Do Anything team, ever hears…

“I can’t.”

Clearly I cannot let this go on any longer. How do these girls not know that they are capable of anything and everything?! I must straighten this out immediately!

Their homework will be to write about a time when they achieved something that they didn’t think was possible or a time when they were extremely proud of themselves. Therefore, the next time they may be feeling like they “can’t” do something, well by golly, they’ll be reminded that they can overcome any obstacle put in their way.

They’ll be able to say to themselves, “Yes. I can do anything.”

Now it’s your turn! When was a time that you did something you never thought possible or what was your proudest moment? I think mine is pretty obvious if you have been reading my blog lately…duh, my marathon! (Are you getting tired of hearing about that yet? No? Me either! 🙂 )

ang

What Are You Really Good At?

For the past two weeks now I have faced twenty eager and excited seventh and eighth graders every afternoon for volleyball practice. For the most part they all seem to be happy, positive little (maybe I shouldn’t say little…I have to look up to most of them!) people, but you never really know how they are feeling inside. I only just met these girls, I don’t know their backgrounds, their history, or where they came from.

I know that middle school can be a really tough time. I recently discovered my old journal from middle school, and let me tell you, it is quite comical to read how dramatic I was! However, as I was skimming through it today, I really realized how confused I was. I didn’t have any idea where I fit in or who I was. I wanted so bad for people to like me (especially the boys…”Well, Tom still hasn’t asked me out. I hope and pray, but nothing ever happens. I also like some other people, but I’m sure they don’t like me. Oh well.”)

Knowing that middle school can be such a dramatic and possibly traumatic time for these pretty little volleyballers, I decided to add a new strategy to my coaching. I gave all the girls homework over the weekend to write down something that they think they’re really good at. It didn’t have to be related to volleyball, but it could be. They could choose to write one sentence or an entire novel.

It was so cute, sometimes funny, and inspiring to see what they had to say. They best part about this exercise was that they ALL thought that they were really good at something!

I wanted them to do this because there always comes times in our lives when we doubt ourselves, feel like we are not good enough, or feel like we are unworthy. Writing down what we are good at reminds us that none of those negative feelings are true! We definitely always have something to be proud of.

It wouldn’t be fair if I made the girls do this exercise and didn’t do it myself. So, me? What am I good at?

Art. I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember. I love to draw, paint, design, and create.

Many of my friends and family have questioned why I am going back to school for nursing when I have such a passion for art. This really is a legitimate question as I’ve considered it plenty myself. I do love art, but I’d like to keep art for myself. I want to always love doing it and love what I am creating, and I think if I was forced to do it then I might lose that love. I want to be a nurse to put my passion for caring for people into action. However, I truly hope that someday I will be able to combine these two aspects of my life. A girl can always dream!

Now it is your turn! Tell me…what you are really good at?!

ang

I Heart Strength Training

I heart strength training. I really, really do. I never thought I’d say that in my whole life.

When I think back to my freshman year of high school, I give some of the unfortunate credit to my negative body image to strength training. Obviously this makes no sense at all, but let me explain.

I had to participate in weightlifting workouts in order to participate on the volleyball team at my school. I love volleyball, so I did what I had to do. I lifted weights…and I hated it. First of all I found it intimidating. Being in a room full of sweaty boys and grunting and yelling is not really my style.

Secondly, weightlifting made me get “bigger”. I had always been very petite and the smallest girl my age, so when that wasn’t the case anymore…it scared me. (I didn’t take into consideration that I was having a growth spurt, and that it isn’t that common to go into ninth grade being a twig standing at 4’9″.) So in my skewed mind, weightlifting equaled getting bigger, and getting bigger equaled getting fatter, and getting fatter was just unacceptable.

Now fast forward to today.

I cannot wait to get in my strength training workout today. I have been craving strength training, especially since I missed it earlier this week. Since I started half marathon training in January, I incorporated strength into my routine consistently for twice a week! I started out with hesitation, but I soon fell in love. After my half marathon, I made sure that I included strength training into my full marathon training plan as well!

What made me change my mind? Why do I love strength training now? Well, I’d love to tell you!

Strength training has made me bigger.

Wait? Wasn’t that what I was afraid of in the first place? Yes, however, weightlifting has made me get bigger in all the right places! I have never had biceps before…until now! (Even though I still max out on twenty pound curls!) Now I can’t wait for the unlikely opportunity to come up where I need to flex for someone!

curlsI have always been self conscious about my legs…my thighs to be more exact. I’ve always just felt like they were unproportional to the rest of my body. But this summer when I was at the pool with my sister and she told me that my legs looked strong, I was actually flattered rather than embarrassed. A huge accomplishment if you ask me!

Strength training has helped me with running injury.

I’ve been having some pain in my knee (which is a pain in my gooloo) for awhile now, and I’m not sure why. However, whenever I strength train, my pain almost instantly goes away. I can’t explain the physiology of it, except for the muscles around my knee must be getting stronger to support the pressure running puts on my knee. Whatever the reasoning, I’ll take it!

Strength training has made me taller.

Since my sophomore year in high school, I had always been somewhat embarrassed to list my height on all the volleyball rosters. I love love love volleyball, but when you see all 5’3″ of me, it’s not very scary. I’m sure the other high school teams would check out our roster and say, “Oh, we better watch out for that number 4…she’s five foot three! Keep the ball away from her!

The truth is, I haven’t measured my height in a long time, so I can’t say for a fact that I’m actually taller. However, I feel taller. I’d be confident listing my height at 5’4″ if I was ever on a roster again. I credit this to strength training because I stand up straighter now. I walk around with my shoulders held further back and my chin lifted slightly higher. Which brings me to my next point.

Strength training has given me confidence.

I can’t explain this one. I just know it is true.

Strength training makes me happy.

I think that everyone knows that exercise improves a person’s mood. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, and it makes you feel all good inside!

With all of these benefits, why wouldn’t you want to strength train?! (I think it should go without saying, but this is based on my own personal experience. If you haven’t weight trained before, make sure to do it safely and correctly with the consent of a doctor.)

Do you heart strength training? What do your weightlifting workouts look like? What makes you feel all happy inside?

ang

My Pinky Toes in the Sand – Part Uno

Las chicas:

Megan (and Mac!), Heather, Kellie, Casey, Me, and Amber

Los chicos:

JR, Matt B., my Matt, Nate, Lance, and Seth...ooh lah lah!

The hubs and me on the most ridiculous “50 best dance songs sung by other artists to techno music” bus ride to the resort:

So excited!

Hello ocean. I love you.

The Riviera Maya

The hubby and I before our first day of sand volleyball:

This was the first of about one hundred pictures like this!

The group playing some beach volleyball:

Nice spike Matt B.!

Friends, you really impressed me during our games! I’m so proud of you all!

Good dig Casey!

Not only did we play beach volleyball…

My Matt playing some mean defense!

…but we played some water polo, too!

Go yellow team!

The cheerleaders:

Casey, Heather, and Megan

The whole gang!

Dinner Club in Mexico!

The hubs and me and our creeper friends:

Well hello Nate and JR!

Palm Tree

Palm Tree!

The bests with our three hundred pesos bottle of sunscreen:

Lovely Ladies.

Wait! I want in!

🙂

Dear ocean, did I mention that I love you?

Beautiful!

And I couldn’t leave out the best bartender in Mexico:

Irving!

Mexico, I miss you already.

ang

Oh Happy Day!

I am feeling in such a good mood today! I have had some pretty serious posts lately, proof being that my daddy admits to crying in the library every time he reads one, so I wanted to create a more lighthearted post today!

Sooo…here are some things that are making me oh-so-happy today!

1. Every time I come home I have this pretty princess waiting for me! Awww!

The Cutest Doggie Ever

2. I get to move soon! Goodbye seventies wood-paneling and hello dishwasher!

3. New pretty nail polish! Woowee!

New Aqua Nail Polish

(I saw a color similar to this on Katie’s blog awhile back, and I had to have it!)

4. I am the new middle school volleyball coach where my hubby works! Yeah!

5. Mexico in seventeen days…with all my best friends and hubbies! Aaaahhhhh!

Beautiful Mexico Ocean

What is making you happy today?!

ang