Cook to be Organized

When I start the week feeling organized, I just feel better! I’m calmer and gentler on myself.  As always, during the weekend, I look ahead to the coming week and do my best to be prepared.

This week, I’ve committed to joining our marathon training team on Tuesday night for their workout. This is yet another commitment, a new one. As much as I want to be there for the team and to get in my own exercise, it’s one more addition to the calendar.

Another hurdle–I’ll be starving when I get home on Tuesday and won’t want to cook!

There’s a soup recipe, Sweet Potato and Chicken,  I discovered last year. Love it and have been waiting for cooler weather to make it! As much as I don’t enjoy being in the kitchen, with today’s cooler weather, I enjoyed the preparation.


I appreciated the colors and texture of the vegetables.  Sipping on a wee bit of cabernet helped too. And, maybe more importantly, knowing that I have something warm and nutritious when I arrive home on Tuesday night makes my organization attempt successful.

Being organized is always a benefit. Organization means different things to all of us.  Starting the week with meals planned, groceries purchased, and odds and end chores completed makes me a better me.

I can’t say that I’m willing to spend every Sunday afternoon preparing upcoming meals. I can’t say that I’ll ever make friends with the kitchen.  I can say I feel positive about my cooking experience today and even better that I can enjoy Tuesday evening with my running friends without the dinner concern. It’s a win for today, and I’ll take it. One day at a time; sometimes that’s all I can do.

Slainte!  Susan

P.S. If you’d like the soup recipe, here you go! Click here.  Thank you Pinterest.

P.S.S. I will never reach the point of making my own chicken broth!


Lessons from School Photos

then and nowThere were three possible marks: Excellent, Satisfactory, and Unsatisfactory.  Every mark was an E, always, until 3rd grade when I had one “S” on my report card. Mrs. Muncy gave me an S in reading. Tears and devastation over this grade – from me. My mother nor my teachers ever had say a word. I was my most demanding critic. Still am…

Child development experts explain that our personalities are formed, for life, around the age of three.  We grow taller, hopefully smarter, and wiser, but our personalities don’t change much. In my own unscientific research of simply asking parents with grown children, I have validated this time and time again!

Working in the education world, we have the privilege of annual picture taking, right along with the students. Each year, free of charge, educators receive an enormous packet of our school pictures, in all sizes. The 8 x 10 is the dreaded one for me as every fine line and imperfection is plain to see!  As I contemplated this year’s free offering of yet another year’s photos, it occurred to me that little has changed from the little girl to the grown woman.  Okay, I’m 40 years older, my hair has changed color (thanks to an amazing hair stylist, Stefanie), I’m taller, hopefully more intelligent and wiser.  But, I’m still the same in so many ways. I often berate myself over not earning the E.  These days the E may not be a mark on a report card. It could be the mark I give myself for a situation at work, with a family member, an interaction with a stranger, or in other personal relationships.

The seven year old girl in the photo loved to read as does the forty-seven year old “girl” I am today. The young girl enlightened her stuffed animals by playing teacher, and the older girl now educates real people. The youngster valued education, the grown woman still does.The little one enjoyed playing the piano, and the wiser one still relishes music, both listening and making it. Then…my brother tormented me, I wanted straight hair, loved learning, adored my Whiskers the cat, savored sweets, was curious, and needed independence.   Now, the list still holds 100% true. I would also love to believe the girl was a terrific friend and want to believe I still am today.

Lessons from the photo comparison:

  1. I’ve not changed much over the years.
  2. Gray hair is inevitable-we all need a skilled hair professional.
  3. School photos could use a new look-a new pose, at least.
  4. Stay away from current 8 x 10s. Bigger isn’t always better.
  5. I need work on being kinder and gentler to myself. 
  6. Maybe Mrs. Muncy was teaching me a life long lesson.
  7. Not everything needs to be an E!

How about a “photo comparison” of your own? How much are you like your much younger self? Do you need to be kinder and gentler to you too?

Slainte! Susan

The Many Hats We Wear!

Running alone. It’s not my favorite activity. Running with friends is always better! As I set out this morning, on my solo Sunday morning run, I was deep in thought about the numerous roles I play in my world, professionally and personally. I’ll never know where these philosophical thoughts come from.

Have you ever stopped to think how many distinctly different roles you play in your life? If you haven’t done this lately, be forewarned, it’s daunting! This led to pondering which roles are rewarding, taxing, demanding, challenging, formidable, and require the most patience. Do the numerous hats I wear take turns in terms of the rewards, time, strength (mental and physical), and perseverance required? Or are some just rewarding while others are just tough?

As I begin my sixth year as a marathon coach, this role was competing for first place in my morning thoughts. One of the most rewarding hats I wear is guiding (merely assisting) people to cross a marathon finish line! In the six months I spend with these dedicated individuals, I witness so much growth, and I see strength emerge they never knew they had! It’s never me. I can’t run those miles for anybody. I can’t dig deep into my heart for strength or run on rubber-band legs for anybody. They do it, it’s ALL them!

Jen was part of our group last year, and not only did she accomplish a marathon through her own strength, she became a dear friend.


And, some more people who I am privileged enough to call my friends.


Some of my greatest rewards come from my role as coach turned friend.

On my morning solo run, as is quite common, I ended up running with a friend out on the path. We were poring over the rewards we enjoy from helping people cross a finish line. Running conversations can take dramatic turns and can be all over the place. We soon discussed traveling across our country and to other continents too.

I was talking about my new joy of traveling and of the many destinations I hope to visit.  My friend went onto say that helping others may perhaps be the most rewarding event in his life. For him, this beats any sunset over any sea in the world, any historical monument or vacation destination.  For a moment, I pondered this comment. For another moment, I felt so completely guilty for thinking of my own desires and for putting myself first.

Then I remembered. I’m one of the first people to tell others about the importance of taking care of yourself, your needs, and desires first. In this way, you are better able to be there for the others in your life and be at the top of your game for the many, many hats you wear! So many people depend on you-personally and professionally.

Your life needs balance. Your soul needs to sing. Your mind needs rest. When you take care of YOU, then you are better able to nurture those who rely on you and depend on your strength! You can coach others to their “finish line.”

No guilt for taking care of you!! Take care of you. You’ll be better for those who need you.

Slainte! Susan