The Happiest 5k on the Planet

My alarm went off at 5:50am this morning, reminding me that I was about to run in The Color Run – Grand Rapids with one day’s worth of training under my belt and some pre-existing knee pain.

5:50am. Yuck.

My parents were up for the weekend to take care of some GR chores, so I guilted my mom into coming as my support. She was already in the shower when my alarm went off and I shuddered to think of how tired she must be.

Geared up, I headed downtown with my mom to sign-in. I was meeting up with some girlfriends for the run and found them with relative ease.

This is what we looked like before the run:


Clean, fresh-faced, and ready to go!

And after:


Success! Running with girlfriends is so much better than running alone!

The race isn’t timed so we finished when we finished and threw that competitive awkwardness out the window. I may not have been in shape but I had a great time today with my friends. When I needed to walk, we walked. But they definitely pushed me to run!

Here’s my advice: If you have little running experience, I highly recommend signing up as a 5k team leader when you’re feeling ambitious. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes a whole lot of sense but thinking about it: If you lose motivation? Too bad. You’re the leader! You’re committed to running it because people are counting on you!

5ks are kind of my new thing. They’re long enough to make you feel accomplished when you’re out of shape but short enough to be within reach. And it might have something to do with something my mom said to me today about happy people too:

She told me that the happiest people actually engage in more activities that sit outside their comfort zone. Out of curiosity or a desire to tackle something new on their list, they sign up for those things they’ve never done before and, once they complete them, they’re happier for it.

Don’t go thinking that’s made a runner out of me (yet!) – but I continue to see 5ks in my future. And someday soon, I’ll take on something new!


A special thanks to my mom for cheering us on and documenting our day! It means a lot to me!

Forks in the Road Don't Have to Have a Right and Wrong

I’m not entirely sure the purpose of nostalgia. Is it a longing for something we no longer have? A happy remembrance of what brought us to where we are today? An opportunity to laugh about your mistakes or relish in the distant praise of your few successes?

I’ve been caught up in sweet dreams of nostalgia lately. Laughter over some of my inexplicable past and a yearning for the rush that followed some of my small victories; I mull it over with an understanding that I did not have before and a clarity that comes with age.

What is the purpose of nostalgia?

Perhaps these feelings of nostalgia simply precede the next great thing.


When you get married, do you know what they say? They say things like, “Everyone is in such a rush to get married lately! I’m taking my time and enjoying my independence.”

“I couldn’t imagine tying myself down at this point in my life.”

“We are so happy as boyfriend and girlfriend; why would we want to ruin that?”

They don’t say it to you as a warning, rather they say it at you while thinking to themselves aloud. They are lost in their own thoughts… In their personal journey of love, of relationships, of independence. Yet though they do not speak to but only at you, you hear them. And it stings to know that your friendships will inevitably change in this next chapter of life.

Suddenly, you are lost in the sweet nostalgia of an unbridled life. An ability to leave. To be tough. To stand up to anyone… And then you take the leap.


There are choices each day that define you. A series of crossroads. And if you choose wisely, you will find more happiness in the fork you choose than you will leave behind. And as you continue to move forward with your choices, you will begin to cherish nostalgia. It is no longer a longing for the past. It is a keen awareness and acceptance of the choices that have brought you forward.


The next time people speak aloud and tell you that a spouse is a chain and a house is an anchor or a child is the end of fun as you know it, you must keep silent. Do not retaliate or defend your choice. Do not hesitate or hurt. Remind yourself that you are happier on this turn because of the direction you chose… That this is your path and that the people speaking to themselves aloud have made the equally important choice for themselves to be single or unwed, un-mortgaged, or without attempt for children. And you must honor their choices as well.

We need to start a revolution. To fight human nature, which tells us that the grass is greener on the other side. We must not pull others toward feelings of regret to protect us from those feelings ourselves. And we must also watch ourselves when we are tempted to react to some news of a friend’s new direction following a fork in the road.

Do not compare their choices to those of your own. Just listen, love, and accept.


We need more advocates for love in this world. For inclusiveness. For appreciation of these crossroads and the opportunities these choices make. For those that follow different paths and for those who go in an expected direction.

You are not better because you are different. You are not better because you are the same. You are you and your “you” is beautiful. I am me and that is beautiful too.

The Girls

Life has a funny way of bringing us full-circle sometimes.
When I started college, I imagined graduating with that close group of girls that meet up year after year and grow old together, share life’s joys and sorrows.
I spent four or five years searching for the right group. I was always out, always busy at one event or another and I hated the scene just as much as I craved it.
When I graduated, I looked back and thought, “Huh. I guess that was it. Not exactly what I expected.”
Here’s what I’ve learned: If you want to find something, you need to stop looking for it.
Since my first year of college, I have had those women just a phone call away. When I was running out the door, they were inviting me to run on over. But I could never find the time.
Last night, we all met up for dinner with husbands, fiancés, and boyfriends to talk about moving across the world, new houses, daily living, and upcoming weddings.
Have you ever felt the humility of realizing that what you set off to find was with you the whole time?
I am blessed. Blessed to have my group of girls to grow old with. Blessed that they were so patient while I figured out where I needed to be. Blessed that we are all so excited for the changes in our lives and accepting of the people we’ve brought in over the years.
I don’t think you can ever let people know how much they mean to you after something like that…
But I’m going to spend the rest of my life trying to show them.

Make New Friends But Keep the Old – One is Silver and the Other Gold

The title of today’s blog is from a song we used to sing when I was in Girl Scouts. I had a short career with it (I was a Daisy and a Brownie – that’s it), but that song I carry with me always.

I made friends with Willy yesterday. He’s a musician. Going to school somewhere in Grand Rapids. He’s older. Gray hair. Mixed? No teeth. From Milwaukee. Plays the harmonica, guitar, and piano. Likes to play classic rock and soul. His drink of choice for an afternoon in Rosa Parks Circle is a very tall Budweiser and he can let it rip when he gets his buzz on, so he tells me.

I was sitting at a table at the edge of the circle enjoying a lamb gyro on a wheat pita with cucumber sauce, tomatoes, cucumbers, black olives, and feta cheese, which I washed down with a Biggby coffee, while waiting for my friends to get downtown for the Carrie Underwood concert. It was overcast but warm and there was a street performer playing his guitar to synthesized music in front of a diner-esque restaurant nearby. Willy threw out some sort of comment – be it about the weather, music, or a general greeting, I cannot say – but it was directed at me. I couldn’t hear what he was saying; it just sounded like a short jumble of words. I don’t know what compelled me but I answered, “What?” I repeated my question several times before I decided it was foolish to yell across the circle. So I packed up my lunch. I walked over to him and sat down. He looked shocked, scared even, that I would approach him. I struck up a conversation and after a few minutes of hard listening to decipher his style of speech, I could pick up (the majority of) what he was putting down. It was nice, sitting side by side and commenting on the weather, music, and Grand Rapids. I shrugged off the beer and his racist comments and we just enjoyed the afternoon for a while. You can find friends in unexpected places. You just have to be open to it.

Friendships can be difficult things. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my friendships lately. I think it mostly has to do with the impending move back to Grand Rapids. I have to be very deliberate in growing my friendships here but that’s tripped up by the feeling that I’m stepping on toes. After a few years with someone, friendships with people intertwine. I find that I’m working very hard to keep those friendships on my end but I do worry that my intentions will be misinterpreted. It’s like a game. Shuffling around time slots and avoiding topics of conversation. It can be exhausting, but I do believe it’s worth it.

 “Play On” Carrie Underwood

…I miss my friend. Can I put that out there?