Everyday Conversations, From Live It Everyday

  • A Runner's Favorite Yoga Poses

    So over here in my corner of the world, things have been CRAZY. Between trying to plan a wedding, moving (back) to Kentucky and job hunting, my head has been spinning.

    So aside from running, I’ve been trying out some yoga poses to take a break from this crazy thing we call life. After a quick Pinterest search here are some of the best examples of yoga poses that I’ve been practicing.

    The actual definition of yoga is: a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practiced for health and relaxation.

    My definition of yoga is: lots of stretching, looking awkward, falling over and cute pants from Victoria’s Secret.

    Obviously not the same thing.

    But I’m trying. And that’s what matters.

    Everyday I get closer to accomplishing a new pose, or at least somewhat looking like the yoga girls on Pinterest.

    So even if all I have time for is a quick 15 minute run and 15 minutes of yoga, then my body at least feels more alive and ready to conquer the day than if I were to sleep in for 30 more minutes.

    I know rolling out of bed and throwing on clothes is the easy thing to do, but I promise these endorphins are the best! Working out is the best way to wake up.

    I will leave you with an easy, at-home yoga workout video.

    It’s 14 minutes of stretching and flexibility that will help you start or end your day perfectly!

    So hopefully things settle down and I can get into some more training, speed work and recipe posts!

    Stretch happy! Meghann

  • Thank you, Landon Donovan

    On August 7, US National Soccer Team & Major League Soccer (MLS) legend Landon Donovan announced that he will retire from professional soccer following the conclusion of the 2014 MLS season. Donovan is the leading goal scorer in MLS history, US National Team history, MLS playoffs, and in the MLS All-Star games. He has won five MLS Cups, a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, two MLS Supporters Shields (best regular season record), and four CONCACAF Gold Cups. He has scored 5 goals in three World Cups (earning Best Young Player in 2002), and arguably should have competed in a fourth.

    Donovan has been the “face of soccer” in the United States for as long as I can remember. He has been consistent throughout his entire career, and has even carried his team on his shoulders when they have needed him most. One moment that I, and I’m sure everyone else will surely never forget, is the stoppage time goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup. It looked like the US were certainly eliminated from the tournament, but with just minutes remaining, Donovan smashed home the game winning goal in the 1-0 victory over the Algerians. Please feel free to share your favorite memories of the greatest American soccer player in history.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7eZmKWW9s4

    On Saturday, I traveled to Ohio to watch Columbus Crew host Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS regular season match. Los Angeles, as I’m sure many of you know, is the club that Landon Donovan plays for. It was my third and final opportunity that I have to watch Landon Donovan play in person --  and what a privilege that has been. I’ll be sure to share my experience in Columbus with you, and hopefully have some pictures to post too. Donovan and the rest of the Galaxy only have 14 MLS regular season games remaining. I encourage everyone to watch as many of these games as you can -- you still have an opportunity to watch a true legend play before he hangs up his cleats for good -- so please don’t waste it.

    There’s no doubt that Landon Donovan is the greatest American to ever play the game. He has given so much to this sport, and this country -- and said he will continue to do so -- however he can. This certainly isn’t the last we’ll hear of the legend. After the 2014 season comes to an end, there are countless opportunities for him -- whether that be coaching, commentating, or just offering his expert opinions -- Landon Donovan will continue to give to soccer.

    With Donovan leaving, this will obviously free up quite a bit of salary space, so who will LA sign to the team? There are endless possibilities, and it’s probably a little too early to start guessing. It probably won’t be until around January that we actually start hearing news about potential signees. As always, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

    Landon will definitely be missed by soccer fans all around the world. He was playing in the first soccer match that I ever watched in my life. He inspired me quite a bit during my soccer career, and I’ll definitely miss watching him do what he’s best at. He is a one of a kind player that has had such an impact on our country. Landon Donovan is a true American Hero. It’s tough to grasp that we will never see him in the US jersey ever again, but soccer in America still has a very bright future.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-0yrpvNUbI

    Stay tuned, Kelby

  • The Internet & Working Out - More Related Than You Think

    Like most girls in America, I love Pinterest. I have boards for my dream wedding, my actual wedding, my millionaire’s closet and DIY projects that will more than likely never happen.

    Pinterest 1

    I also have boards filled with workouts and smoothie recipes. Unlike the other pins, that I never look at more than once, the workout pins and smoothie recipes get several clicks a week.

    Pinterest 2

    Just like the human body, the Internet is an amazing thing. Weird comparison, I know. But hear (read) me out. We have all of the resources literally at our fingertips. Recipes for healthy eating, workout videos to motivate us for living room workouts and Facebook and Twitter for when we get bored.

    But while we are sitting on our coach, eating Cheez Its and scrolling through thousands of pins, we need to remember that looking at workout video and reading healthy living blogs is not going to make you lose weight and gain muscle. You actually have to get off the couch, put down the snacks and go for a run, do some crunches and eat an apple instead of ice cream.

    Need some ideas? Go to Pinterest! There are literally thousands of healthy recipes that easy and simple to make. Think of it as a challenge. Find something that you like to eat that is also healthy for you.

    From everything I’ve been told by health teachers and running coaches is abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym. Eating a healthy diet is what helps you lose weight. You cannot out run a bad diet.

    So mix in some vegetables with running, give it four weeks and I promise you will see changes.

    It’s taking the high road. It’s going the extra mile. It’s watching what you eat because you want to be the best and healthiest version of you. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to have cheat days -- just do so in moderation. Don’t eat a whole pizza and a tub of ice cream in one day. It won’t kill you but it definitely won’t make you feel good.

    Try each day to better yourself, even if it does not pertain to your health. Make it your goal each day to do something that will improve who you are. Something good will come from it.

    Run (& eat) happy, Meghann

  • The World Cup Recap -- What You Need To Know Now It's Over

    The World Cup has finally come to an exciting finish as Germany outplayed their opponents and raised the trophy at the end of the tournament. Germany eased through the Group Stage and remained undefeated. They earned tough wins over Algeria and France in the round of 16 and the Quarter Finals. In the Semi Finals, the Germans completely dismantled Brazil 7-1, leaving the hosts heartbroken. In the championship match, Germany faced Argentina, with superstar Lionel Messi leading the team. At the end of regulation, the two teams were still locked at a scoreless tie. The game was coming to an end, and it appeared the fate of each country was going to be decided in a penalty shoot-out. With roughly 7 minutes remaining until the shoot-out, Mario Gotze brilliantly finished a ball into the back of the net, winning Germany's fourth World Cup.

    I'll certainly never forget Brazil 2014. The tournament was loaded down with spectacular goals, dramatic upsets, and tons of emotion. The spirit and support that The American Outlaws produced completely astonished me. I would definitely argue that USA had the absolute best fans at the World Cup. For the entire duration of the tournament, we all united and became a soccer nation. Excluding the hosts Brazil, USA fans bought more tickets than any other fans from any nation -- that is extraordinary. The American passion was definitely present during the World Cup. The national team has influenced this nation, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for soccer in our country.

    Stay tuned, Kelby

  • The Friendliest of Strangers: Hard Introductions

    When you meet people, things usually stay simple and surface level. "Hi. What is your name? What do you do? Okay, cool, nice to meet you." On my end, however, strangers get to know me very quickly.

    Sometimes when I introduce myself, I lie.

    You see, I am split between being an introvert and extrovert but almost always the introvert in me wins. So, when I introduce myself, I have nothing to say because I'm avoiding further small talk, which we introverts despise. The question "what do you do?" is loaded for me. And it is scary. When I tell people that I travel the world serving in missions and humanitarian aid, I can't get away without the exhausted list of questions that always follow. And I can't run from the crazy looks vibing my direction. So, usually I introduce myself in a mild, bland fashion to avoid the small talk and impromptu interview. It's pretty much lying about who I am. UNLESS I am talking to a handsome guy, then I can pretty much dominate the first impression.

    Who am I kidding? The introvert in me avoids guys. My life, sigh.

    The other day, though, I could not escape this conversation. I went to the travel clinic to order my prescriptions for Uganda. In this case, I have to tell the specialist exactly where I am going, for how long, and why. No escape. The introvert in me began to shrink inside.

    This particular day I wasn't feeling well, and my mood was off due to a rough week. As we sit down for our consultation I cannot even mentally prepare myself. The lady was so sweet, but the questions took off.

    Her: "Where are you going?"

    Me: "Uganda."

    Her: "Oh my goodness, that is quite the trip. How long are you going for?"

    Me: "A year."

    Her: "WHAT! Bless your heart. What are you doing there?"

    Me dying: *Chokes up* "Uh, stuff. Orphan stuff." *Shrinking inside*

    Her: "Are you going with a group?"

    Dying more: "Well no, I'm going by myself."

    Her: "By yourself ... "

    Me: "I mean, I uh, I have a team, but I'm being sent to launch an orphans program."

    There it is. She wins, she gets it out of me, and I prepare for the avalanche of questions of which I respond to quite briefly.

    Despite my best effort to avoid all small talk and further conversation, this lady would not give up. I answered in my introvert-like fashion yet she could see past my mood and into my soul; she knew there was more. "Well, I would love to hear the whole story," she hoped as her eyes dropped to the file in her hands. I cracked a smile, because I already had the story written up and promised to send it to her.

    We finished the consultation, I took home my vaccines and prescriptions, but I knew this encounter was something I've seen before. What I do not only pushes me outside of my comfort zone for invasive conversations but beautifully, it invites strangers into my life. People don't just let me walk away once they hear about the work I do, and by the end of the conversation, they've won me over. The shyness dies and we are friends. The clinician and I have already been emailing back and forth -- I think she is secretly an angel. Nurse by day, angel by night. For sure.

    Over the years as I've traveled, I've had these encounters all over the world. To this day people from across the ocean email me. Students, volunteers, officials, and entrepenuers occasionally re-connect and send their love my way. At first, I don't get it. It can be kind of weird. But these people have taught me so much. They open my eyes to the fact that not everyone has closed their doors to the world. They teach me about true love and encouragement. Most of all, they just give me hope and assurance that it is good people who make the world. It may not be the good people making the news, but they make the world.

    Chidlero 1 Childero 2

    This story isn't just about me. What about you? Do you have passions? What are you excited about? What fuels you to do good things? Share these with people. Even if you struggle with introductions, like me, you will be surprised how sharing passions can quickly bring you into life with the friendliest of strangers.

    Until next time (and hopefully from Uganda), Cara

    Like Cara said, she'll be traveling to Gulu, Uganda, to help launch a program that her home church in Lexington, Kentucky is beginning, Childero. To see her whole and official story, click here. It'll take you to her personal blog, where she shares stories like these from all over the world.

  • A Runner's Inner Monologue

    Want to know some of the thoughts runners have during their daily workout? Every day is different, just like every run is different. But usually my thoughts during my runs are about the same. They range anywhere from hating every step of the journey to prancing along while singing Frozen songs in my head.

    So here is my inner monologue while out for a run. (Usually.)

    Oh wow, I actually matched my shoes with my outfit. Score one for Meghann.

    Okay, let’s stretch. Ugh, when did my toes get to far away? I think my arms shrunk.

    Maybe I should start doing yoga. I mean, I did pin like 10 new workouts this week on Pinterest.

    Okay, let’s do this. 5 miles. Easy-peasy.

    Well, 14 steps in and I already sound like I’m dying.

    Not dying. Just can’t breathe normal.

    How long have I been running for? I probably already have like 2 miles in. 8 MINUTES. WHAT THE….

    I am dying over here.

    Oh look! A puppy.

    Okay, I found my stride, the rest of the run should be easy now.

    NOPE. Side stitch. OUCCCCCH.

    Breathe in two steps, out two steps.

    Don’t swing your arms.

    *Plays Rocky theme song in head*

    Crap, I have to pee and I still have 3 miles to go.

    I totally deserve a pizza after this run. Or some chicken nuggets.

    4.5 miles. Almost done. Run faster so it will be over faster.

    I am dying. 4.8 is close enough to 5 miles.

    CAN’T STOP WON’T STOP.

    It’s over. Thank the Lord.

    I FEEL AWESOME.

    Let’s do it again tomorrow.

     

    Sound familiar?

    Run happy, Meghann

  • Recording Your Workouts

    Planners, agenda, diaries, whatever you call it, I love having a book to record my thoughts or whatever ramblings are in my head for that day.

    1

    When I ran in high school, my cross country coach gave all of us a journal and wanted to record our progress throughout the season, from then on I was hooked on writing down info from my runs.

    My times, the weather, how I felt, what I saw, it all went in this journal. At the end of the season, it was fun to go back and look at how I progressed as a runner, and a person throughout the season.

    Last year for Christmas, Ryan (my fiance) got me a 365 day running journal. And every day since January 1 I have recorded my miles, my weight, where I ran and how I felt. I love tracking my progress. I like being able to keep a schedule of my workouts and measure my distance from week to week.

    2PicMonkey Collage

    So. I already told y’all that I like recording my runs and whatnot. Wellll. I also kind of love stats. And while I’m not a math person (at all), I do like percents and things of nature (just don’t ask me to figure them for you). So along with journals and whatnot, I use Fitbit to keep track of my weekly progress. The Fitbit (that I reviewed here) emails you weekly updates on how far you walked, your total minutes active, calories burned, sleep patterns, etc. I love it.

    My suggestion to everyone is start recording your daily activity. Whether it's a five mile run, 20 minute walk around your neighborhood or playing soccer with your brother, I want people to become passionate about being active. While I love some McDonald's chicken nuggets, I also know that I can't eat those everyday and not workout at all. I don’t have the metabolism of a five year old and I would like to not clog my arteries.

    This is the only body you are going to have. You might as well keep it in shape. 

    While I am also all about body confidence and loving the skin in your in, I also want people to be healthy! Find whatever it is you are passionate about and do it! Mine is obviously running, but I also love to play soccer, go hiking and (throwback) play Dance Dance Revolution with my best friend.

    And if recording your daily activity is not your thing, that’s fine! Do whatever works for you. Post inspirational notes on your bathroom mirror, tell Facebook you're going to run a 5k and let your friends hold you accountable, or practice something new and surprise your family with your new talent.

    So tell me: What do you love to do? Is there something you wish you could try? If I had the money and the time, I would LOVE to try gymnastics; stereotypical girl answer and I don’t care. It looks like SO much fun.

    Have a great week, everyone!

    Run happy, Meghann

  • Fireworks & PTSD

    Brian wrote a little about the Fourth; see how a soldier deals with the joyous Independence Day.

    Again this week I'm going to deviate a little bit because this week is special and can be scary.

    I, like so many Veterans, suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injuries, as you could imagine, do not get along well with fireworks. Until the last year or so, I was pretty much a hermit this time of year, keeping my music up loud to drown out the blasts of the fireworks.

    1

    So, I'm keeping this short to allow you to reflect on the holiday that we all need to celebrate, albeit in our own ways.

    Rejoice in the fact that you are free to celebrate it as you see fit and be courteous of guys and gals that may seem a little standoffish when it comes to fireworks celebrations.

    I hope everyone had a joyous and happy Fourth of July.

    time to make the donuts. Brian

  • Jungle: 1 | Cara: 0 -- An Update From Costa Rica

    While we were away, we got some updates from Cara's trip to Costa Rica! Happy day! Don't forget to continue sending good vibes her way as she takes on Uganda in August. 

    Hey, Live It community! This is Caradactyl reporting from Costa Rica. Want me to fill you in a bit? 

    Costa Rica is my home away from home. I've been coming here since my first trip in 2010. Over the years of service, I've established a new family here. It can be kind of weird when I explain to people how I can feel home to both places, how I belong to two families, two churches, and two cultures. I always miss one place or another since I cannot be in both at once. So, this trip has been a beautiful one. 

    The first week I was in the capitol, San Jose. I was catching up with old friends, hiking, and doing some work in a slum with some kiddos. This second week and a half I am settled into the jungles of Talamanca. I live in a town called Shiroles where old indigenous languages, culture, and work still reside. On this week of the trip I am traveling with 20 other people from my hometown. I prefer to travel with the locals since Gringos (white people) tend to stick out too much. Let's face it, Americans are loud and rambunctious. 

    PicMonkey Collage

    But traveling with a bunch of foreigners can also be fun for me. I get to re-experience the glory of newness through their eyes. Silly questions and observations make me joyful to reflect on what it was first like to come here, and the first things I noticed.

    The night we arrived we were greeted by our kind host, who is also from our hometown of Lexington, Kentucky. Kimi greets us with splendor. Well, actually I ran my face into hers, but, you know, splendor. Then she collects the group together and says, "I am SO happy to have all of you here. I apologize, we don't have electricity. Hopefully we can have it tomorrow." I immediately fall into the adventure and enter the dark cabin and find my favorite spot that I know so well by the big screen in the loft. The little girls downstairs ask when we will have water and electricity. I laugh and respond, "when the jungle decides." Their eyes and mouth widen as they snap their heads over to their poor mother for comfort. Woops.

    2

    The jungle is a place of struggle. Upon arriving, my friend Abby and I went to shower because of the long travel. We get into the showers in pitch black darkness, strip, and turn on the faucet ... and ... No water. We share a few "hmmm"s and "uh huh"s and then we put back on our clothes, depressed, and return to our loft. "Jungle 1, Cara 0". 

    Thus begins the struggle of such life, life preserved and beautiful but life without air-conditioning.

    The next day we find out that we wont have electricity or running water for a few days. Luckily the showers at the nearby church work, so no problemo. AND there is always the river.

    5

    This place screams unfiltered beauty. Everywhere you look the mountains are covered in green canopy, grey clouds, and insects on steroids. Nightime lightning, wild flowers, and a five inch neon spider. 

    Insect that needs to lay off the steroids Insect that needs to lay off the steroids

    The following day, I took a shower and the water shut off on me twice. In the corner was a giant black beatle starring at me as I prayed the water would come back on... Jungle 2, Cara 0. 

    In the morning, you are woken up by nature. Roosters crow, birds chirp, and the horses are galloping around neighing. Along with them are the goats, dogs, and chickens who walk around freely and the cows who are herded in their special places. 

    On Sunday, we went hiking to visit a community higher in the mountain. And by hiking, I mean I nearly ascended to my death. The hike took our group a little over three hours; the first two hours were a direct incline and the last hour was swampy. We trekked through highland, lowland, swampland, and no man's land by the time we reached our destination and the trees were spinning. They were spinning. I managed to only slip twice, but my crew told me it was graceful. I call that a win. Jungle 2, Cara 1.

    1

    On the way back down a team member was bit by the very bug we have always been warned about: A Bullet Ant. Bullet ants are large black "ants" with the skin of a beatle. They are black and conveniently on every branch that you would like to use as support. When bitten these ants can insinuate the pain of a bullet shooting across the tasty limb from which he munched, for my friend it was his ankle. Our team member took it like a champ and walked the remaining terrain. Next time I saw him, he was sitting in a rocking chair, sock down, and the fan blasting at his ankles in agony.

    The electricity and water finally returned and we rejoiced. Even in the jungle small things such as a convenient sink and electric fan give you peace when there is challenge. The houses that I visit are usually one room cabins covered in dust and roofed by sheets of metal. These one room houses serve as the kitchen and community room, including for sleep. These houses are also overcrowded, imagine a family on five living in only your bedroom as your total home.

    Many children are neglected and unloved. Many are in poverty and depression. Many cope with alcohol, sex, and drugs. Many are sick. The challenges that this life is accustomed to are brutal but there is hope. Their are people here who invest themselves into the darkness. Kimi, my host of splendor, is working with her staff to build a home to receive children, envisioning small business models for selling chicken and growing corn. They have clubs for children where they come and play but most of all these people are extending love and encouragement. 

    7

    A few days ago, I was given advice about world aid. A wise woman told me to be careful and to not cry over every single person who has a problem, because everyone has a problem, and you can't fix their problems. This women was undoubtedly wise, and correct, but she has a short circuit.

    I accept that I can't "fix" every person's problems. True. But speaking in that mentality opens doors for giving up, and I don't give up. You see, these people need basic needs but one basic need that I can ALWAYS fix and ALWAYS provide is love. Depressed people need a smile. Abused children need a tender hug. Addicts need a pure source of fun and relief. This woman doesn't understand the depth of aid, and the depth in the impact that simplicity and sincere human interaction can provide. 

    This relates to everyone. It doesn't matter whether you call the jungle home or the city with it's lovely, wonderful air-conditioning. You may not be able to provide a solution for every problem but you can surely provide relief for every burden by sharing love. Cheesy. But think on it.

    Pura Vida (Pure Life), Cara Starns

  • We're Back!

    It's been a while since we've last blogged, but we miss you! In the coming weeks, we've gotten some SUPER exciting things planned, so make sure to stay tuned!

    For the last couple of weeks, we were in London, England. Here are some snapshots we love.

    1 2Mike (Chief Cook & Bottle Washer) and the business brains of the family, Liv (youngest of the fam) at the Roman Baths in Bath, England.3They listened to these audio guides like it was their jobs. Chief Cook & Bottle Washer and CFO at your service in Edinburgh, Scotland.4

    This picture was 100% necessary.

    Happy Hump Day! Haley

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