Solitude

The last two weekends have allowed me to get on my bike and get in some solid open road miles, just me and my girl.

I cherish those rides

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When I bought my first bike I was fresh out of college having just graduated with my undergrad.  It was a gift to myself after obtaining my Big Girl job and a few paychecks.

Riding on my own was what I did.   I had a few folks to ride with those first months and I greatly appreciated the backup while I gained my riding wings.  A year into my riding career I met my bestest Biker B!tch Sara and embraced the new riding friends I gained.  But that group of riding friends lived in a neighboring town, so it was always me and my Sporty making our way to them.  And then finding our way back home at night.

It was those first few years when I learned to appreciate the solitude.

It’s also when I learned a lot about myself.

I love riding with my husband.  I love riding with my girlfriends.  I love riding with groups of people, small and large.  I wouldn’t trade those days and rides for anything, ever.

But, when given the chance to ride by myself…

 I go.

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The solitude of riding on your own opens up your senses.  It clears the mind of the all the uncertainties.  It brings a sense of empowerment and breathes life back into the body and mind.

Fear of riding alone?  Absolutely not.  You are talking to the girl who is known to intentionally wait until night fall to ride the 90 miles back to Omaha from Clarinda.

Riding alone forces a person to really understand their surroundings and be in tune with every last sound, light and movement that’s out there.

It’s intoxicating.

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I have a few rules for my solo days:

  1. Full tank of gas.
  2. Layers of gear in case of inclement weather.
  3. Cell phone charged.
  4. Decide a direction but never a destination.
  5. Take the road less traveled, even if it means it leads to a dead end.  That dead end?  It tells a story.

 

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This most recent Sunday sent me out West.  I rode out for about 50 miles before winding my way back home.   The air was brisk.  My full leathers warm.  I set out in sunshine and 55 degree weather.  I returned with an overcast sky and very cold wind.  The kind of wind that had me riding sideways at times.

It was a low 100 miles of everything I needed and wanted.

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I encourage people to get out there.  Explore the world on your own.   Find out who you are, not who you are with others.  Find out what the open road has to tell you.   You will find a piece of yourself out there that you never knew existed.    Think of it as personal development.

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I found a few quotes that seemed to describe the importance of solidarity and I combined them to fit what it was I was hoping to express, so I’ll leave you with this:

Many people suffer from the fear of finding oneself alone, and so they don’t find themselves at all. Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to the beauty of who we really are.

 

Cheers, friends. ❤

 

 

South Page High | My Teaching Years

Do you ever look back on your life and marvel at how fast it has gone and how much has changed?  Do you look back in fondness or yearning?   I stumbled upon one of my old scrapbooks tonight and holy flood of memories.

Did You Know? 

Once upon a time I was a teacher for a very small community in Iowa.

Once upon a time my life revolved around music, instruments, chord structure, choreography, 60+ hour “work” weeks and lots of amazing, smart and talented kids.

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For two years I served as the Director of Bands and the 5-12th Grade Vocal Music Teacher for South Page High School located in rural College Springs, Iowa.

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In addition, for three years I served as the Coach for both the Cheerleading and Dance teams.   I started Coaching in 2003, when I was still in College full-time finishing my music degree.

I loved those girls and those teams.

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Those two years of teaching and coaching were some of the best years of my life and also some of the most challenging.  I learned so much about myself as a leader, as a colleague, as a mentor, as a spouse and as a person.

I have nothing but fond memories when I look back.

I was 23 when I started at South Page.  Young, naive, impressionable, fresh and ready to devote all my time to these kids.

They were my everything for 3 solid joy filled years.

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I loved my classroom at the end of the building.  I loved having that back door open, bringing in the freshness of the outdoors any chance I could.   I loved that my room connected to the gym, the stage and my own back storage room full of music from years and years before my arrival.

These students brought so much LIFE to those years.

Homecoming and their accompanying themes were always a hit, case in point by all the costumes.  Nearly every kid took pride in participating.

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I really appreciated how small the classes were at SP.   Total enrollment at South Page ranged between 240-275 during my years there.

Those small classes gave me a chance to make mistakes and not have them seem so big.  It was a chance for us all to learn together.

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I loved the relationships built with fellow teachers and students.  Jodi was my GIRL and also a great mentor to me.  Her teaching best practices were always one step ahead.

I remain in touch with many of the students still to this day.  In fact, I have had a great time sharing photos to many of their FB walls this evening.   Mostly for my pleasure and their dismay.  🙂

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Summer band camp always brought the worst heat and humidity.  Two years of marching band out in the streets in the early mornings with 7-12th grade students was quite the experience.  But, looking back, I actually kind of miss it.  If I could be a part time helper to a small Iowa town marching band, I’d probably due it in a heartbeat.

Note:  When I say part-time, I really mean occasionally.  When I want to.  Like, maybe once a fall.  😉

I had strong leaders in the Marching Band.  From my drum major, Allison, to my drum core led by Lowell and Eric.   I still laugh at the impatience a simple “Left, Right, Left” could bring to a person after days on end of 6:45am street marching practices.

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The Cheerleading Squads grew strong over the three years.  We lost a few as they graduated and gained more as the ages moved up.

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They agreed to my crazy 6:30am practices and in return we saw their stunts grow larger, their basket tosses flew higher, and their confidence and skill set grew by leaps and bounds.

Their relationships and sense of team pride was some of the strongest I had ever seen.  For the size of district we were, we had a reputation.  A reputation of powerful young women who proved Cheerleaders were tough.   All you had to do was look at their stunts.

Shining stars, I tell ya.

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Three years of Homecomings, Pep Rally’s, Proms, Concerts and Movie Nights.  My schedule was never dull.   I lived for it!

South Page was full of spirit and pride.

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The Dance Team was a step out of my comfort zone.   I won’t ever consider myself a dancer.  I do well with choreography, but free style?

Leave me out of it.  

I took this challenge on with full force and am so thankful the girls went along with me and my crazy ideas.

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↑The First Ever South Page Dance Team↑

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Just like the Cheer Squad, the Dance team evolved over the years as well.   What a joy it was to see the variety of girls gain confidence during the audition process and throughout the seasons.

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From my young 5th grade kiddos to my Seniors, each one of these kids has a special place in my heart.

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I learned a lot about being a leader from many of these students.  Some were wise and mature beyond their years.

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Even when they couldn’t manage to be serious.

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Game Nights were some of my favorite!  Between keeping up with the game, cueing the pep band at the right time, executing the Start Spangled Banner with respect, carefully monitoring the cheerleaders during stunts and running the sound for the dancers, I was never sitting still.

But, it was really those leaders I spoke of before that really pulled it off.  I was just the talking head and moving hands. 🙂

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PROM was one of my last big events before my time at South Page came to an end.  I couldn’t have asked for a better group of Juniors to work with.   From decorating the gym for photos, to decorating the buses for our trip to Brownville, NE  and the time spent organizing the details for the 4 hour riverboat ride (while trusting I wouldn’t have to dive in after any pranksters), I gained respect for many of those kids.   Of course, there were some who pushed the limits, but who didn’t at that age?   Hey, all I cared about was making it back to the High School before After-Prom when they would no longer be my duty.  😉

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The last concert I would ever have at South Page was incredibly bittersweet.   Our concerts always took place a few days after Prom so our stage was always decorated to the nines.   It added a level of magic to the whole event.  Especially for my last one.   We had a great set for both the band and choir.  I even had the drum line do one last show to put their skills on display.  They had grown so much that year and I was so incredibly proud.

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I broke it to my students early May of 2006 that it would be my last month with them.  Leaving South Page was a very hard decision for me to make, but absolutely the right one.  I mentioned earlier that those years at SP were some of the best, but also some of the most challenging.   My personal life had taken a turn, I had learned more of who I was and what I wanted in life, the direction of South Page was moving opposite of what I could handle and a move to the city was the right thing for me to do.

And so the decision was made.

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My kiddos made my last days some of the absolute BEST.  Between the signs, cards, presents and hugs, I never felt more loved and appreciated.

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My years at South Page are very special to me.   I look back now and have nothing but warm, fond feelings for the time spent there.

To the students of South Page High,

  Thanks for being some of the best students I could have ever had and for teaching me more about myself then you could ever imagine.

                                                                                                                          Cheers,

                                                                                                                                     Jordan

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5 Habits That Block Happiness | Stop Them Today

We all have those days.

Days where we wake up feeling great, a smile on our face and ready to conquer the world.   Then we arrive at work and an email takes that happiness and flushes it right down the toilet.  Or we open up our plethora of social media accounts and someone else’s post or photo leaves a bad taste in our mouth.

There are many reasons as to why we may, or may not, be happy at any given moment.  Sometimes we can control our happiness.  Sometimes we cannot.   Identifying the happiness blocking habits that we can control and removing them from our mind will lead to a happier day.

 A happier life.

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5 Happiness Blocking Habits to Drop

1. SEARCHING FOR GREENER GRASS

Everyday we see friends and acquaintances receive work promotions, buy homes, purchase new vehicles, have a baby, become engaged, move to a different city.   Naturally, we find ourselves wanting the same.   Perhaps not exactly the same, but we want to feel what they are feeling at that moment.  True happiness.

But, happiness comes from an appreciation of what we have and who we are.  Being envious of what other people have is a sign we aren’t happy or appreciative of the life we have now.  We have forgotten how to live in a place of gratitude.  When we set our sights and create goals based on a life that someone else is living, we aren’t actually following our own path to happiness.   The foundation of the goal is to actually negate the other person’s achievements.    To be happy, we should be living our own life, our own way, but in support of others and their accomplishments.

So, the grass looks greener on the other side?  Please remember that the yard you are looking at is a result of someone else’s hard work.

Create your OWN greener grass.   Find passion in everything you do.  Find meaning in every event of your own life.  Appreciate the life you have and all of a sudden your side of the lawn will start looking greener by the day.

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2. GETTING CAUGHT UP IN THE DRAMA

Many times we find ourselves getting involved in a situation that centers around drama.   We see it, hear it, fall into it and sometimes even create it.  It’s almost as if we are addicted to the shaming, the chaos, the victimizing, the “look at me” syndrome.   Learn to stay out of the drama.  Learn to stop creating the drama.  Learn to know when to walk away from a conversation.  Know when you are creating the situation.   Understand that feeding into others drama is causing drama.   Be neutral.  See all sides.  Learn to be comfortable in the quiet, uneventful times of our lives and leave other people’s drama to them.

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3. FORGETTING TO MAKE TIME FOR EXERCISE AND SLEEP

Make time for exercise and sleep?  Yes, you read that correctly.   We tend to forego exercise due to lack of time.  We tend to forego adequate sleep due to other pressing activities.   Laundry, dinner, dishes, tv shows.   Besides the benefits of exercise on our overall health and well-being, exercise releases endorphin’s in our body and endorphin’s make us feel good.  Who ever left the gym or a sweat session with the feeling that it was a total waste of time?   I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone.   Exercise leaves you with a feeling of accomplishment.

What about sleep?   Sleep gives our body a chance to rest and rejuvenate, our muscles to repair, our minds to calm.  Sleep gives our bodies reason to shut down and start over fresh.   A happier outlook on life is just a good nights rest and an exercise session away, literally.

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4. COMPLAINING WITHOUT ACTION

Venting or complaining?   Your actions tell the difference.

Challenging situations and circumstances that cause frustration will always be a part of our lives.    An occasional venting session is healthy.  Constant complaining is negative.   What we need to focus on are the opportunities that arise from challenges.  Change the complaint into an action item and move forward, even if it means to merely acknowledge that nothing can be done.   The action step is what creates balance and provides vision and clarity.    Constant complaining shows a lack in ability to move forward.

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5. BEING CONSUMED BY WORRY AND STRESS

Worrying changes nothing.  The only thing worrying is good for is taking away today’s peace and happiness.   Let go.  Let it be.

“Worrying is like a rocking chair.  It gives you something to do but it doesn’t get you any where” 

Give your mind and body something positive and constructive to do.   Take action.  Is there something you can do to help alleviate the cause of worry and stress?   Create an action plan and get to work.   Focus the energy on the positive action and you will begin to see your happiness come back.   Worrying won’t change the outcome.  Action will.

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Stay true to you, live your life, surround yourself with good people

…there is much happiness to be celebrated.

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Halloween 2015

Halloween 2014 was the first year Clint and I dressed up as a couple.  And it was awesome.

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Trying to come up with a costume for 2015 was difficult.   I finally narrowed it down to a few ideas and let Clint do the choosing.

And the final verdict was…

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70’s Disco, Baby

Clint’s outfit stole the show for sure!  The wig, the spray painted black beard, the bell bottoms, sparkly shirt, platform shoes with goldfish in them…

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Finding an outfit for me that wasn’t the typical “boobs, legs and butt” costume that girls tend to gravitate towards was difficult.   Fortunately, I found my costume used on eBay after finding it sold out in every other Halloween store.

Score 1 for CHEAP!  Score 2 for subtle, cute and comfy!

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We attended our friends Andy and Liz’s Halloween party (and Liz’s belated birthday party) Saturday the 24th.

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This years party didn’t disappoint.  They know how to throw some good ones. 🙂

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Liz, Me, Tyree, Regeana & Kimi

There were some pretty hilarious costumes amongst this group.   So thankful we have become friends with Liz and Andy.  They are a FUN couple to hang out with (even though Andy seems to ditch out every time we schedule a ride.  What’s with that Weise?  Fist bump, Liz for always being down) 🙂   Kidding.  Still mad love, kid.

We totally dig their circle of friends as well.  They crack me up.  It’s been a trip getting to know these guys over the course of the year at Halloween parties, Algona Rally, among a few other smaller group rides.

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The boys, of course, couldn’t sit still so the potato gun came out to play.  Let’s just say this thing has extra power.  I don’t think there is a single thing that Andy builds that isn’t bigger and better than the average.  Average isn’t part of his vocab.

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Beer pong, dancing, socializing inside and out by the fire, we all had a great time.

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We ended the night winning a tie for best couple costume and called this Halloween party a success!

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We continued the Halloween festivities on Saturday the 31st with Clint passing out candy to lil trick or treaters while I walked our neighborhood with the cutest Minion and his mommy, Briton and Claire.

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Dang I love that little kid.  Such a cutie and TOTAL sweetheart.

We ended the night at the Reverb Lounge for our friend Asa’s tattoo shop hosted party.

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Friends, Fun and another great weekend night.

Cheers to Halloween 2015!

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Music Monday 7 | Chase Rice | Gonna Wanna Tonight

Chase Rice.  He was introduced to me a little over a year ago by a friend and I’ve been digging on him since.   Easy to listen to songs, down to earth personality, humbling upbringing, good family values.  Just a few reasons why I dig country music.  The artists are real and they never seem to forget their roots.

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Chase played in Omaha at Sokol Auditorium on Friday, October 30th and you can BET I was on that ticket bandwagon in a hot second and my concert sidekick Tyree was right there with me.

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Chase put on a great show, connecting with the crowd, pulling up to the stage a starstruck girl,  serenading her that made us all sick with envy and then thanking her boyfriend for not being a dick.   True words.  It was priceless.

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The beers were ice cold, the music fantastic and the company great.   Chase Rice, I will be seeing you in concert again.

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Webpage: Chase Rice Home

Tour: Chase Rice Tour

Other Songs Worth A Listen:

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Chase Rice

Gonna Wanna Tonight

If you wanna climb a ladder on a water tower
Then we’ll kick it with the stars for a couple hours
If you wanna then we’re gonna get way up high
If you wanna dip your toes where the water stops
Then we’ll let our feet hang off a fishin’ dock
If you wanna then we’re gonna have to give it a try, that’s right
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If you wanna go away out where there ain’t nobody around
And let your long hair get to fallin’ down
And let your red lips leave their mark all over mine
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If you wanna then we’re gonna girl
I hope you’re gonna wanna tonight
If you wanna then we’re gonna girl
I hope you’re gonna wanna all night
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If you wanna catch a buzz and ride it til the mornin’
Let’s get two plastic cups and baby I’ll get to pourin’
I don’t really matter if it’s whiskey or wine, it’s fine
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If you wanna go away out where there ain’t nobody around
And let your long hair get to fallin’ down
And let your red lips leave their mark all over mine
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Fill up the night air with the radio
And put your hands wherever they wanna go
Yeah, we’re right there
Girl just close your eyes
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If you wanna then we’re gonna girl
I hope you’re gonna wanna tonight
If you wanna then we’re gonna girl
I hope you’re gonna wanna all night
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Gonna wanna get a little closer
Gonna wanna slide it on over
Gonna wanna
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Gonna wanna go away out where there ain’t nobody around
And let your long hair get to fallin’ down
And let your red lips leave their mark all over mine
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Come on
Fill up the night air with the radio
And put your hands wherever they wanna go
Yeah, we’re right there
Girl just close your eyes
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If you wanna then we’re gonna girl
I hope you’re gonna wanna tonight
If you wanna then we’re gonna girl
I hope you’re gonna wanna all night
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Gonna wanna get a little closer
Gonna wanna slide it on over
Gonna wanna
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Ya gonna wanna tonight

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