Everyday Conversations, From Live It Everyday

  • Don't Leave Me: A Collision of Hope & Hurt

    The narrative looks different for every person but the story is we've all dealt with difficult people at one point or another. Whether it was a student in school, a family member, or stranger we have all encountered someone who is just difficult to love.

    This is a story about cherishing hard love.

    I've spent the last five years mentoring a group of girls who are now juniors in high school. My girls are rotten to the core and I love them with all my heart. They are beautiful, care-free, and devious. The only reason they don't get away with their shenanigans is because I claim to be worse than they. Any stunt, teenage criminal act, or prank they pull I promise them I've already done it and did it better than they. I warn them not to prank me or I will get them back 10-fold! (Insert evil laughter: Mwahaha.)

    Quick side story: One day the youth group took a retreat to some cabins in Tennessee. On retreats we collect phones so the kids can focus on the challenges and get away from life at home. I brought my plastic bag and infiltrated my girl's room to ask for their phones. One of my kids gave me her phone and for some odd reason I had a hunch that she was lying. She handed me her phone and I commanded, "Hm. Give me your REAL phone." 

    I had no reason to be suspicious beyond the gut feeling telling me they were pulling a stunt. She replied, "That IS my real phone." 

     After going back and forth for a bit I stood still and looked around the room to see where she could possibly hide her real phone. I noticed the VCR player to my left. With the room in total silence my fingers lifted the flap-cover, reached inside of the black box, and slowly pulled out her REAL phone. Her mouth dropped. I think they were partly impressed and astounded that a leader toppled their mission. I proved to them that I will ALWAYS be more devious than they. And that was off a mere hunch.

    These are my girls. I love them. But sometimes the people you love dearest are the hardest ones to love.

    Don't Leave Me

    One of these girls and I were having a conversation over messaging one Thanksgiving Day afternoon. She was having a rough week and I was encouraging her. Out of no where she fired at me, "You're such a bitch. I'm so tired of you, why can't you just leave me alone?"

    I paused because I felt a blend of hurt, confused, and a little hacked off. I began typing a response but decided to set my phone aside and give it a second. I let my mind run over thoughts of what was going on, how she could be mad at me, what I did, where this spurred from ... And then it hit me.

    This amazing kid had been betrayed, misused, ignored, hated, and hurt time after time in her short life-span. She was putting me to a test.

    I picked up my phone and responded, "You can push me away all you want but I'm never leaving you. You can screw up every day and I will never be mad at you. Nothing you do will ever make me disappointed in you because I don't hold expectations. You are amazing as you are. I love you. I'm not giving up."

    Her response was filled with peace as she dealt with the shock of the first person who had ever responded in such a manner. To this day she has never acted out irrationally against me.

    Here's the thing: People who have been hurt and betrayed in their lifetime can't trust others. This kid was putting me to the test whether she realized it or not. When she screws up, they are disappointed. When she yells, they leave. When she inflicts pain, they hit back.

    She put me to the test to see if I would do the same.

    Don't leave me.

    Don't hate me.

    Don't hurt me.

    Loving people is hard. Sometimes people just need patience, trust, love -- things that are failing in a world divided between the selfish and self-less.

    Who are these people in your life?

    Family

    Friends

    The old lady customer

    The grumpy clerk

    The homeless man that gets under your skin

    Anyone and everyone, especially those who's stories are untold.

    Sometimes people have no reason to trust humanity. And sometimes anger is a test acting as a defense mechanism.

    Consider this next time you encounter a person you don't understand.

    Return hate with love.

    Irrationality with patience.

    Pain with kindness.

    Return what had been taken from them and expect nothing back. Have you guys ever experienced anything like this? How did you handle it? Drop me a comment! Let's chat.

    Until next time, Cara Hope Starns

  • The Importance Of Running? It Changes Your Life

    The practice. The pain. The ice baths. The 3 a.m. wake up calls and the 4 hour four bus rides.

    The Friday night team dinners. The early bed times and limited social life. The accomplishment of dropping a pant size.

    The Importance of Running

    The warmup. The stretching. The same prayer every Saturday morning. The tape on my spikes and the rubberband in my hair.

    The Importance of Running

    The lineup. The nerves. The butterflies. The gun. We’re off.

    The dew on the grass. The sweat on my face. The pain in my lungs and the weight of my arms.

    The pep talk. The song stuck in your head. The girl you have to beat.

    The fight to the finish line. The race volunteers with water. The new PR. The support of your teammates and family.

    The Importance of Running

    The feeling of accomplishment. The feeling of death and the feeling of being so unbelievably alive.

    That’s what cross country was to me. That’s what running still is to me today. I run to better myself. To beat the clock. To challenge everything I thought I knew about myself.

    “If you run, you are a runner. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you've been running for twenty years. There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get. You just run.” John Bingham, American marathon runner.

    What's the importance of running? Running can change your life. I dare you train for a half marathon, marathon, or any other race and it not change your life. Your mindset changes. You become more aware of what the human body is capable of. You watch what you eat, you monitor your sleep; it becomes an obsession.

    Make running fun. Make workouts hard. Rest, eat, and repeat.

    Run happy and run hard. Meghann

  • One Soldier's Loss Of A Friend

    So after the diversion last week about my new best friend, I'm going back to Iraq again...kinda feels like an episode of 24 huh?

    Well, shortly after the searching of the bunkers I took my leave from Iraq and went back to Alaska to spend two weeks with my wife Angie and our two kids Jordan and Logan. Probably the shortest two weeks ever.

    1 PicMonkey Collage

    I returned to Iraq to find I had been transferred into our Battery Operations Center (BOC). This to me was a real kick in the face as I missed my Soldiers immensely and I had to sit by and watch them leave, come in, and talk on the radio. My satisfaction, though, was knowing they knew the right things to do, because I had shown them. I still had the opportunity to get out every now and then, as I was the Raven UAV pilot for the Battalion and helped with a couple other things.

    Shortly after I took the position, I had to say goodbye to a man that had became a real friend to me that was over there training Iraqi Policeman. Bob died in a helicopter crash one foggy Saturday morning.

    It was the first loss that really hit me hard but, there would be more.

    Time to make the donuts. Brian

  • When Life Throws You Bananas: A Response to Racism

    Live It Everyday is passionate about whatever it is in the world that inspires. Sometimes, that's soccer. Sometimes, that's peace. Some days, those two worlds crash together. In spirit of the World Cup, I thought I'd tell you about when I was inspired by one soccer player's humorous response to racism. Don't worry. You don't have to be a futbol guru to get this.

    Dani Alves is quite the character. He is Brazilian born, a fantastic defender, and plays for FC Barcelona. Playing for a Spaniard team and coming from Brazil isn't exactly a harmonious transition. Over the years, Alves and players like him have suffered from numerous racist attacks. Alves experienced his most recent attack during his match against Villareal, but his quick and humorous taste (literally) shamed the offender.

    Here are the details.

    As Alves was getting ready to kick the ball, a banana was thrown at him from a Villareal fan in the stands. What happened next was epic. Alves picked up the banana, peeled that sucker, ate it, kicked in the ball, and went on almost playing simultaneously. What a CHAMP.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6b7bU3DMiA

    When life throws you bananas ... Eat them like a boss!

    All of us may not face discrimination against our race, but at one point in your life, you WILL find yourself in a position where you are being looked down upon, held back, or deciding how to respond to an offensive action. We all have to decide how to react to these kinds of situations.

    Alves could've done ANYTHING. He could've delivered his middle finger, thrown the banana back into the crowd, or any other childish response to match the play. Instead, he ate the banana and played on. The symbolism remains deep even as he, by this immediate reaction, had no idea how it would greatly astound the world. Picking up and silently eating it shamed the offender by Alves, radiating how little he cared, how he would remain unaffected, and his team would finish with a cherry on top of the banana split as they walked away with the victory. Olay!

    So next time you encounter a moment where your patience is tested against a situation that ridicules, belittles, doubts, hurts, or betrays you ... Remember to eat it like Alves, shame with a taste of humor and honor.

    Live on & until next time, Cara Hope Starns

  • Why We Love Community Running

    One of the perks of running is you get to meet all kinds of people from all over the country. I’ve run races with only 50 people and I’ve run races with hundreds of people crammed between the sidewalks.

    There is something about preparing to run any length of distance that brings people together.

    Some people run races to beat a specific time, some run to beat that voice in their head that says they are too fat or too slow to run against others, some run for fun and some run for health. But that’s the thing; everyone out there has a goal. That’s one way you’re all similar.

    Some of my best friends came from running cross country in high school. Day in and day out, we would run the roads by our high school and talk about everything from the race on Saturday to cute boys in our history class. Had it not been for cross country and track, I would not have some of these friendships. Running is what brought, and kept, us together.

    Community Running

    The end of my senior, I ran in the Kentucky Senior Challenge -- a race for selected high school cross country seniors in Kentucky. I was put on a team with three other girls from my high school and about eight other girls. We didn't know each other and the only time we had to talk was during our warm up and stretching.

    But we all had a bond; we loved to run.

    By the end of the day after the race was over, we had our medals and was ready to depart we all laughed and hugged each other like we had been friends for years. That’s what the bond of running can do. It’s makes strangers instant friends.

    Community RunningMy dad started running 5ks after I got the running bug and he met people who were like him: not fast, determined to finish and outside running to enjoy the day. I got to share something I love with someone I love. That’s what is great about running -- once someone catches the running bug, it spreads like wildfire.

    This is why community races are so great. They are usually cheap, low-key, and you get to meet all kinds of new people who you at least have one thing in common -- running. Plus, small town 5ks are usually small enough where there is a good chance you will place in your age group.

    Community Running 4

    I'm in a sorority (Kappa Delta), and my twin loves to run. Talking about 10-milers and half marathons was our first connection and from there we became instant best friends. Talking about blisters, hydration, tripping on trail runs to personal bests, our friendship was based on the foundation of running. We ran 5ks to support fraternities on campus and half marathons for fun. Running was our connection.

    Community Running 2

    So if you have never run in a small community race, I encourage you to do so. They are full of friendly people, free food, and awesome t-shirts. Plus, community races are usually a lot cheaper than races in bigger cities (hint: the shorter the distance, the cheaper the race)

    So check out a local color run, or 10-miler and see what you think.

    What are your favorite races to run? Costume or theme races? Intense half marathons? Let me know! I’d love to hear from you!

    Run happy! Meghann

  • USA & Portugal -- FIFA World Cup

    I've never been much of a soccer fanatic. I've been to a few of my high school games, but that's more of my sister's and cousin (Kelby, who's review of last week's game you can see here) thing. Kelby will be giving his thoughts on USA and Portugal later this week, but as we begin to make plans for parties surrounding the TV, cheering on the USA team in the FIFA World Cup, here are the predictions from the Men in Blazers who are coincidentally hilarious.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRbwOxoAyE8

    What do you guys think? We sure do hope USA pulls through!

    Happy World Cup, Haley

  • A Man And His Service Dog

    So, I am skipping ahead a few years for this week. I will, however, start from the beginning of this story. In 2010, my family and I attended a retreat for wounded Service Members and their families near Appomattox, Virginia. While there, I attended a presentation by America's VetDogs and Guide Dog Foundation for the blind field reps Kathy and Greg Levick.

    From the time I first became cognizant after waking up from my two month coma, every doctor and therapist I'd had told me that I was a great candidate for a guide or service dog and reminded me that I had always fought that. After the presentation, I no longer wanted to fight it; it took another two years for me to get into a class because of some medical issues, trying to decide what I needed most, a guide or service dog. In the end I, along with the help of my wife Angie and the expert staff at the Guide Dog Foundation, I entered class on April 3, 2013 and went home to Mechanicsville, Virginia with Gunner my new best friend.

    Wounded Veterans

    Service Dogs

    In the nearly 14 months I've been with Gunner, I've been able to regain a ton of independence traveling to different places and doing public speaking overnight on a couple of different occasions and attending doctor and therapy appointments at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA hospital in Richmond.

    This past week I had the opportunity to travel back to New York to do some filming for America's VetDogs at the campus in Smithtown, New York. I had an in-depth interview on what life had been like for me before injury, after injury, before Gunner, and after.

    My life has been returned to me.

    I played the part of the ass really well before Gunner, and since getting him I've gotten a lot of my old personality before injury back. I've always been asked if I could have anything back whether it be sight, hearing, no pain or what wouldn't I love to have my sight back. My answer? Not really -- I was always a great thinker and had a memory for everything. I would pick my thought process over everything, and slowly but surely Gunner and America's VetDogs have given that back to me.

    Guide Dogs

    Service Dogs

    Well time to make the donuts; I need to pack for this week. Brian

  • Mary Beth Chapman's Choosing to SEE

    When I'm not elbow deep in Live It Everyday shenanigans, I'm going to school full time pursuing my Master of Arts in English degree. The point of that is that I love a lot of things, but I love to read. When we made a connection with Show Hope's publicist, Stacie Vining, we got to talking and she was telling us about Mary Beth's book, Choosing to SEE, that details the tragic loss of the Chapman's daughter, Maria Sue. When she shipped it to us, it took me exactly one evening and a half of a day to finish it. It's amazing.

    I'm an emotional person. It's relatively new for me, I admit. For a while, I prided myself on being the girl who never cried. But then, something just broke inside of me and I'm pretty much a blubbering mess at all times. Which I'm okay with. This book is heart wrenching. I mean, broke my heart. Stitched it back together, laughed a while, and shattered it again. But, it also instilled in me a distinct and very alive sense of hope. One minute, I was giggling at Mary Beth's jokes, remembering my sweet time meeting her, and the next I was sobbing at her and the Chapman's anguish. The thing I loved about the book most is what it's underlying message truly is -- to see. To see beauty, to see hope, to see what God is doing in our lives. It was amazing to be a part of, and I was just reading!

    Mary Beth Chapman Choosing to SEE

    Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book. Here's the link for you to buy it! You don't want to miss Choosing to SEE! Promise.

    "...it will help to shatter the illusion that Christians are supposed to be perfect."

    "And in spite of being slightly crazy, David knew that the Lord God Himself knew him before he was born."

    "I also knew quite clearly that I couldn't rest my hope or security in how I looked or how productive I was, or anything else that had to do with my hardworking, churning, and anxious personality. If my outlook was dependent on me and how together I was, I would have no peace."

    "I can choose to SEE his story, or I could miss it."

     

    A truly amazing woman, Mary Beth Chapman. If you want to invest in a great organization and cause, visit Show Hope, or check out our World Peace and Christian lines.

    Don't forget, we still have surprises and updates for our event with Show Hope a few weeks ago. You guys are going to love it!

    Choose to see, you guys.

    Haley

    PS - this is how I feel when I meet Mary Beth Chapman

    Mary Beth Chapman - Choosing to SEE Photos // Kyser Lough, Apparel // men, women
  • It Feels Like Home: An Update On Cara's Trip To Costa Rica

    I've told you before that Cara's a nut for traveling. Not only traveling, but mission work. We think she's awesome.

    Here's a couple of photos from her Facebook and an update from her personal blog!

    Click here to check out her blog, Ankle Deep where she talks about how she feels more and more at home in Costa Rica as she continues to travel there!

    Costa Rica Missions CR Update 2

    I just think it's the coolest that Cara was celebrating the USA win along with us, even though she's, like a gazillion miles away in Costa Rica! Read our commentary on the game here!

    Remember to continue sending thoughts, prayers, and good vibes her way!

  • No Landon Donavon? No Problem: World Cup 2014

    World Cup 2014

    Hello there! My name is Kelby Ferrell. I was recently offered a chance to keep you informed and up to date on all of the excitement that is happening in Brazil during the World Cup 2014 this summer. I graciously accepted the offer. Just a little about myself before we get started. I'm a graduate of Belfry High School in Kentucky where I captained the varsity soccer team my junior and senior years. As you can imagine, I live and breathe soccer. I am a passionate follower of the United States Men's National Team (USMNT), and I would love to share my knowledge and analysis of the team and the entire World Cup with you. So let's get started.

    If you follow the US team at all, then you're probably aware that coach Jurgen Klinsmann excluded American superstar Landon Donovan from the World Cup roster. Donovan has scored more goals and recorded more assists than any other player in USMNT history. American fans have become outraged at the coach's decision, doubting his judgement. Regardless, they had to accept that they would not be cheering on their favorite player this summer.

    On June 16, the USMNT faced a familiar foe for their first game of the World Cup 2014 -- Ghana. In the last two World Cups, (2006 & 2010), Ghana not only beat The US, but they were the team that eliminated them from the competitions. Most USA fans will agree that Ghana is their most hated team, and are desperate for revenge. On the evening of the 16th, their dream of revenge was fulfilled.

    The game opened up quickly -- very quickly, actually. In just 34 seconds, American captain Clint Dempsey calmly slotted a left footed shot into the net. The goal is the fastest of the World Cup so far.  The Americans held on to their 1-0 lead for almost the entire game.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hb8vOGI1JQA

    With roughly eight minutes left of the 90 minute match, Ghanaian forward Andre Ayew finally beat the US defense and scored the equalizing goal. With a draw, the US would only earn one point instead of three. With four minutes remaining, 21 year old John Brooks headed a corner kick delivered by Graham Zusi into the goal. The US held on for the 2-1 victory and earned all three points.

    Along with the positives, the game also produced its share of negatives for Team USA -- including one BIG negative. Twenty-three minutes into the game, Jozy Altidore dropped to the ground, clinching the back of his thigh. Altidore is arguably the best goal-scorer on this US squad, so this is obviously a huge blow to the team. He was later diagnosed with a hamstring tear. The severity of the tear is still unclear, so it's possible that he could return for World Cup play. I'll be sure to keep you updated on Altidore's injury.

    Overall, it was a fantastic start to the tournament for the US. On June 22, they'll face Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest of Portugal in their second game of the Group Stage (which I'll explain more in my next post). A win for the US would be absolutely fantastic.

    Stay tuned, Kelby

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