Financial Peace University! I’m In!

Financial Peace University begins on August 18th at First United Methodist Church!

I am very excited to announce that I’ve heard a call to action and I’ve accepted. I’m sick and tired of being in debt and I’m finally ready to do something about it. Financial Peace University will be offered at my home church, First United Methodist, in Huntington, West Virginia.

  • Thursdays @ 7pm
  • First UMC: 1124 5th Ave, Huntington
  • Begins on August 18th
  • 9 weeks!
  • Sign up link: FPU @ First UMC

Not familiar with Financial Peace University (FPU)? From Dave Ramsey’s webpage:

It teaches God’s ways of handling money. Through video teaching, class discussions and interactive small group activities, FPU presents biblical, practical steps to get from where you are to where you’ve dreamed you could be. This plan will show you how to get rid of debt, manage your money, spend and save wisely, and much more!

Cost notes:

  • $70 for first 10 participants if kit is purchased through First UMC church
  • $93 for membership kit if purchased via the online store link

The money is an investment in your future. I wholeheartedly believe it. Over 1.5 million people have gone through the class. You should be one of them! I hope to see you on August 18th! Here is a highlights video:

Note: be on the lookout for more information as August 18th approaches. I’ll be posting about my personal journey once it begins, too. 🙂 Get pumped!

Meg Visits Ramsey Solutions

Benefit of my sister moving to Nashville? I get to visit Ramsey Solutions!

Mom, Dad, and I were killing time before Taylor got off of work on Tuesday, so I convinced them to take me down to Ramsey Solutions to stop into the lobby while Dave was on the air. I walked through those doors and wow I wasn’t alone. About 20 people were in the lobby, too! I was blown away, and it was kind of surreal.

I missed the first hour debt free scream. Here is, I assume, Jarod and Joylynn signing the plexiglass wall:

Jarod and Joylynn (needs to be confirmed, but the videos for this day haven't been uploaded to YouTube yet) signing the wall. They paid off $85k in 18 months!
Jarod and Joylynn (needs to be confirmed, but the videos for this day haven’t been uploaded to YouTube yet) signing the wall. They paid off $85k in 18 months!

The Wall: Get out of debt using Dave Ramsey’s principles and you, too, can sign this wall.

Oh, the wall? It’s full. Now they are using smaller plexiglass rectangles and even those are getting filled up with signatures from amazing individuals and couples. Wow!

I obviously didn't do a good job at centering this photo. But check out this wall of signatures!
I obviously didn’t do a good job at centering this photo. But check out this wall of signatures!

Because the room was so crowded, I had plenty of opportunity to say hello to lots of folks. I sat in a chair next to a couple who are outside of the 6-month window for the debt free scream to be done on-air, but they are DEBT FREE. Yeah, buddy. She told me that she bought a new car, her first big girl purchase, and the next day her brother (in law?) gave her The Total Money Makeover. She cried. But she kept the car and paid it off diligently.

I also met Chris, who was doing his debt free scream in the third hour (no scream during the second hour… bummed I missed one live). This kid (he’s 24, I think) paid off $16.5k in 16 months. He knew it down to the day. Oh, and he was only making between $24,000 – $27,000/year.

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Chris is a young guy… and he’s debt free! Rock on, Chris!!!

I also had the chance to listen to the radio show live. Dave Ramsey does exist… behind glass. Haha, there’s a really funny sign at the bottom of the full-length window that says, “please do not feed the monkey.”

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Check out the sign! I love it! What an awesome set-up. The YouTube stream actually does the lobby experience justice.

Dave sits behind the glass and never comes out? Nope. He’s a real person, super nice, and kind! I shook his hand!

So, yep, Dave does exist. Kat (the Ramsey Solutions lobby’s head honcho, basically?) mentioned that on the upcoming break Dave would be coming out to say hello, sign stuff, take pictures. “What? I didn’t know that! I never even expected that to happen.” She kind of laughed… I think I was the only one there who didn’t know Mr. Ramsey occasionally greeted people. 🙂

He came out, promptly extended his hand with a smile, and said, “hello, and where are you from?”

I have no clue what I said after I stumbled over- “Willia- I mean, Huntington, West Virginia.” At some point in this 20 second encounter, I mentioned I was excited to coordinate my first Financial Peace University. I think he said, “alright!, that’s cool.” I’m not sure. But he did say that they have something special for all of the coordinators that stop by. I’ll post that little gift later, stay tuned!

I’ll leave you with these two photos:

Dave and Me: I will be back here in less than 5 years to do my debt-free scream. I can't wait for our next photo op!
Dave and Me: I will be back here in less than 5 years to do my debt-free scream. I can’t wait for our next photo op!
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The facade of Ramsey Solutions and my giddy smile. Awesome experience!

Amazing things happen inside the Ramsey Solutions building. Amazing people, amazing stories, amazing faith. Again, I will be back here in less than 5 years. I will do my scream, and I look forward to waiting until that day. This journey will be fantastic!

VoxBox Win! TRESemmé #ReverseYourRoutine

I recently signed up for Inluenster because my friend got some awesome lip gloss to review and promote if she liked it. After I linked my social media accounts and reviewed a couple of my favorite products, I was invited for my first VoxBox. This month I have the pleasure of testing out TRESemmé’s newest product. #ReverseYourRoutine

Please note, I received this product complimentary for review and testing purposes. They did not pay me for my review, but they did send it to me in a very nice box.


From Amazon’s description:

  • Revolutionary Reverse System with conditioner before shampoo helps you achieve volume and softness at the same time – from TRESemme

  • Bounce-friendly formulation, with Fleximax Volumizers and Fiber Polishing Actives, bind to the cuticle to leave hair smooth and polished, even after you shampoo

  • Hair is left beautifully soft, but not flat

  • Finish with the Beauty-Full Volume styling range to create beautiful bouncy hair that feels as great as it looks

  • Condition first, then shampoo to wash away the weight

Now for my thoughts:

  1. My hair is somewhat thin, coarse, and curly/wavy. It frizzes very easily. Also, I don’t like volume in my hair. I know, I’m reviewing a volumizing conditioner/shampoo system… but I’m always down to try it.
  2. The reverse process was kind of weird for me. Conditioner first? I felt like I couldn’t work it through my hair very well. I did the best I could, and I left it on my mane for the minute prescribed by the back of the bottle. It rinsed out quite nicely, but I did feel the heaviness of the conditioner.
  3. Washing the conditioner out sounds quite counterintuitive, but that’s the point of the Reverse system. The shampoo felt good, smelled good, and rinsed out well, too. It left my hair feeling light and airy.
  4. I didn’t use any product before I blow dried my hair because I wanted to see how the Reverse system did on its own. It looked like my hair would come out quite dry, but it held up with the heat pretty well. Did great with my straightener, too. Right now (post-Argan oil to tame some of the dryness and fly aways), my hair still feels somewhat dry.
  5. Volume? I already told you I don’t like volume in my hair, but boy does my hair love fluffiness. The conditioner-shampoo system seems to definitely unleash the volume.
  6. My hair is still somewhat dry. I think I’m going to try it again and report back on how it feels with my pre-and post- blow dry products: hair serum, blow dry foam, Argan oil. I have high hopes.

Look at my hair. Look at my Lilly. Now look at my hair again.

So, that’s it. Check out #ReverseYourRoutine on Instagram and Twitter to catch other reviews. Thanks Inluenster for my VoxBox! TRESemmé Beauty-Full Volume Pre-Wash Conditioner and Shampoo Reverse System seems like a great product, and I am looking forward to testing it out further!

Rhabdomyolysis: The Elephant In The Room

I’ve gone missing again… for valid reasons this time. Today’s post is about the elephant in the room: Rhabdomyolysis. Specifically, Exertional Rhabdomyolysis.

I’ve had it before, I just know it: the inability to extend or flex my arms, the searing pain in my legs even while at rest. Rhabdomyolysis is what people in the fitness world don’t want to talk about, don’t like to talk about, or (shamefully) are unaware it even exists.

My experience does not reflect on my trainers, my gym, my yoga instructor or studio, or even my friend I went dancing with on Saturday night. I repeat, my illness was not a result of poor training or instruction. My rhabdomyolysis experience was a result of a perfect storm:

  • my lack of hydration all week long & tons of coffee
  • a pretty rough workout at CrossFit on Friday (programmed by Dave Castro, 16.5, aka Thrusters & Burpees for 84 reps each)
  • some beer, even less water
  • a hot yoga session on Saturday
  • more beer & less water
  • and a sweaty (but fun!) 45 minutes of dancing Saturday night

Then on Easter Sunday… I woke up and couldn’t bend my right arm past 90. 

Definition: Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers and release of toxins into the bloodstream. In many cases, it may cause kidney damage and sometimes heart rhythm disruption.

I drank a lot of water on Sunday, but the swelling and pain had already set in to my biceps and triceps. I looked “swole”. That was never–NEVER–my intention. I’ve been active regularly for over 6 years now. I’ve never wanted to inadvertently get my swole on… And I don’t want you to, either.

Thankfully I work at the VA hospital and my employee physical was on Tuesday. I asked the doc to run my numbers… he reluctantly obliged… then he called me in a panic. My numbers were not sky high compared to what some of my friends have had before. All of these people were hospitalized.

  • Friend 1: over 100,000
  • Friend 2: 25,000
  • Friend 3: 33,000
  • Friend 4: 6,500
  • Me: 9,523 (170 is about normal for a rested female)

A few super intelligent medical friends and I figured I had peaked on Sunday or Monday, so I opted to hydrate at home and retest on Wednesday. My lab came back at 12,554. Considering the labs went back up after almost 24 hours exactly, and considering the sheer volume of hydration I was getting, it was time to go to the hospital.

Studies show Rhabdomyolysis (I’ve capitalized it to give it the respect it deserves) in athletes may have higher baseline numbers than 170, but no “athlete normal” range has been established. A higher baseline makes sense when you think about what the condition actually is. Athletes who train regularly have muscle breakdown regularly. If I had to take a guess, I’d say that the “athlete normal” is still less than 1000, but no one knows for sure; 12,554 was simply way too high to be ignored.

Sometimes you have to hold your hand up in the air to prevent even more swelling.
Sometimes you have to hold your hand up in the air to prevent even more swelling because of the IV fluids. A necessary evil.
So I went to the ER, where my friend happened to be working. She stormed out of the triage area and sternly wondered why I was there. I showed her my labs, she got me right in, I had an IV hooked up within the hour, and was quickly awaiting admission.

I had 3 full bags of saline in me by 8:30pm. I basically ballooned from all the fluid. Of the few people who knew I was in the hospital, the couple that sat with me can attest that I was going a little cuckoo because of my signs of hypervolemia: shortness of breath, headache, dizziness.

Over the course of 48 hours, my CK numbers were still reluctant to come down. They kept spiking when I was off of the IV fluids. Oral hydration alone couldn’t keep the CK numbers down: it was a frustrating experience. But despite all of the concern, my kidney function was perfect. Being in the hospital when you feel healthy is one of the worst things ever. I knew my blood needed diluted & flushed, but I felt fine. Finally, the number stayed below 5000, and I was released on April Fool’s Day. No joke.

I still had elbows, but I was plump.
I still had elbows, but I was plump.
Why did I go to the hospital? Rhabdomyolysis can be horrible. Kidney function is not something you should gamble with!

And Rhabdomyolysis can happen at any time if the conditions are right. It can happen to anybody. And none of us who has had it should be made to feel like a pariah for it. We should not feel ostracized. It’s not like we were searching to incorporate Uncle Rhabdo into our family tree.

We don’t want anyone to get Rhabdomyolysis. So you need to be educated. Yes, you, Mr. Newbie, and you, Mrs. All Star. Everyone should be educated.

Warning Signs (not all-inclusive):

 Pain (even at rest)
 Muscle Weakness
 Gross Swelling or Muscle Cramping
 Muscle “Tightness”, Difficulty Moving Muscles
 Dark Brown Urine

Prevention Techniques:

 Stay HYDRATED!
 Avoid jumping into high intensity workouts without proper introduction.
 Don’t forget salt! Electrolytes are important.
 Hydration is even more important during hotter temperatures.
 Lay off the booze post-workout.

Activities That Can Cause Exertional Rhabdomyolysis:

Running: hill work, marathons, tough trail runs, etc
 Spinning Classes
 High Intensity Interval Training, CrossFit-Style or Military Training-Style Workouts
 Hot Yoga
 Weightlifting: super sets, bicep curls, high-rep deadlifts, etc

Your best bet for keeping Rhabdomyolysis at bay is to keep prevention at the forefront of your mind and then put it into action. Being mindful of drinking water does nothing for your actual hydration levels if you don’t actually drink the water. And you definitely need to watch for all the warning signs. Please note, though, that 50% of the time you won’t be able to recognize that there’s even a problem. Sometimes you might simply feel sore in a different way than normal.

Be careful with your hydration and training state in long distance running. Listen to your body and stop a workout with any sign of overexertion or hyperthermia. And if you still get Rhabdomyolysis despite being well-hydrated and well-trained… don’t make yourself feel bad. PLEASE–just go get treatment, check your kidney function, and be an ultimate Rhabdo educator for all those around you.

Last note: my pee was NEVER brown, so don’t use that as your only measuring stick.

Resources for you:
Breaking Muscle: A Scientific Looks at Rhabdomyolysis

Recovery Time in Exertional Rhabdomyolysis

The CrossFit Journal’s Take on Rhabdomyolysis

A Super-Old Web Article With Lots of Comments

Another Person’s Account of Her Rhabdo Experience

Almost a Mirror of My Rhabdomyolysis Story: 2014 Edition

Plenty Of Magic: Meghan The Magnificent & Meghan The Mopey

There’s plenty of magic in the world. Can you point me to the nearest magic store?

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32-year-old Meghan the Mopey isn’t always so mopey. She know’s plenty of magic is available in her world; she just can’t get her act together lately. She’s been searching and searching to find the magic, but alas she must not be reading the directions that came with the magic tricks.

Wouldn’t it be great to go back to 1989 to have a conversation with Meghan the Magnificent? She was so energetic. Tiny, but intense. And that little girl had plenty of magic!

Surprise! 32-year-old Meghan the Magnificent is me. That’s a magician’s trick called misdirection.

But right now I have no magic… or at least I don’t feel as if I have any left.

Disclaimer: this post isn’t a pity party. It’s just a post. And it isn’t an Instagram version of my life. I have no filter, as my mother can attest to that. I am just really having trouble with adulting lately. I’ve lost clothes: jeans, shoes, winter hat. Good thing I found all of those items… My dirty laundry is in the hallway a mere 5 feet from the laundry basket. And I swear I can’t drag myself out of bed before 7am. Okay, I lied… 7:15. Maybe 7:20.

I need some magic! 🙂

So let’s ask 1989 Meghan the Magnificent if there is plenty of magic left for her 32-year-old Meghan the Mopey version.


Meghan the Mopey: Hi! I love your little stick!

Meghan the Magnificent: It’s a magic wand!!! Would you like to see one of my magic tricks?!?!

Mopey: Absolutely, but first can you tell me how you learned how to do magic tricks?

Magnificent: I read the directions, but did you know I had a dream last night?!?! I was walking on the road and then there was this green slime that came down and then–

Mopey: –wait so there are directions for magic tricks?

Magnificent: yessssssss, you’re silly!!! There’s a piece of paper in the bag and you read it and practice the trick. There’s lots of magic tricks out there. There’s plenty of magic. You can learn some, too!!! And you know what else was in my dream?!?! I had–

Mopey: –Well, huh, thanks, kid. Can you point me to the nearest magic store? I think I need to pick up some new tricks. I’ve got some studying to do. And practicing. Right?

Magnificent: Right. Wait, wait, wait, you don’t want to hear the end of my dream?!?!


No, Meghan the Magnificent, I’m sorry but I don’t have time to hear about your dream. Seriously, I really don’t have 24 minutes to hear you ramble on about slime and cliffs and… anyway. You’re an awesome kid, though, and you’ve got a lot of big dreams and big magic ahead of you. <iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=mesethwo-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=1594634718&asins=1594634718&linkId=XB77CP5LWXNHRVSD&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true”>
</iframe>

Let’s wrap this up:

  1. When feeling not-so-magnificent, do something that makes me feel magnificent.
    It won’t feel that way at first, but I know the magnificent feeling should return. That’s the magic of the tricks! The trusty standby card trick (sic and for realsies, I have a trusty standby card trick) usually makes me feel the magic in my life. It’s the old-and-true way back to finding the magic.
  2. When the old tricks don’t work, read the directions or buy a new magic trick and read THOSE directions.
    Read the directions, as the 1989-version of me suggested. Read books and blogs. Read the Bible. Go to the magic store to pick up some new tricks. Listen to others–they provide directions, too. Those are all great suggestions, I think. Life’s magic moments don’t always have directions, though, yet I know magic still exists. Be open to the directions and faithfully read them. New, old; faithfully read those directions!
  3. Be ready to put the new skills into the daily routine.
    I should think about the things I read, and then I should practice what I learn. 1989 Meghan the Magnificent practiced so much for her magic show at Country Club Apartments in Huntington, West Virginia. Her parents encouraged her to keep practicing. Now the stakes are a little higher. Practice patience, and love, and kindness, and courage! Practice card tricks and happy tricks. The Magnificence should will happen.

Summary: try something old-and-true, read the directions to the old stuff or get some new tricks and read those directions, practice magnificence.

Plenty of magic is to be had. Just because I don’t feel the magic in my soul, and just because my life is so not together right now, doesn’t mean the magic isn’t all around me. Maybe I’ll come up with an life magic trick to reveal magnificence instantaneously before your very eyes? Until then, however, think about 1989 Meghan the Magnificent: learning magic tricks is easy. Finding magic as a grown up can be easy, too, right?

Friday Five: Where Have I Been?

I have been MIA for quite a while. It’s been a busy two weeks trying to dig out of the hole left after Disney Princess weekend and the Atlanta trip. In honor of my time away, I would love to share with you this latest version of Friday Five: Where Have I Been?

  1. St. Patrick’s Scavenger Run
  2. The Bachelor Fantasy League Finale
  3. Work. A lot of time was spent at work.
  4. High School Basketball Games.
  5. Snowshoe, West Virginia

St. Patrick’s Scavenger Run

Goal: run, find the shamrocks hidden throughout the city, come back to the store, win prizes. 

Every shamrock on the map is the location of a painted wooden shamrock in real life. Go!
 

I saw this event pop up on Facebook sometime early this month, but I disregarded it. Yesterday it popped up again during the 7:00 hour. The day was beautiful outside. But the CrossFit workout looked super fun, so I was conflicted. I can do kettlebell swings any day. But there’s only one St. Patrick’s Shamrock Scavenger Run.

The event was hosted by Robert’s Running and Saucony. Big props to the organizers. I had a BLAST! My partner was Jill Meadows, the incredible spirit who is an impressive yogi and previous 50K ultra winner. So I sprinted… partly because we wanted to get the first shamrock before someone else found it… and partly because she’s pretty swift. Later I found out that she was running faster because I was running faster.

No running watch, no Apple watch, and I didn’t even start my RunKeeper. I just had a bunch of fun and ran something like 3-4 miles? What a great evening! I’m glad I chose the scavenger hunt over kettlebell swings. I won a two-pack of Saucony socks! I love socks!

Oh, and there was green beer to be had. So that’s a win-win.

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Tell us who won!?

 

The Bachelor Fantasy League Finale

Bingo cards ready!
 
This event was on Monday night this week. Let’s put in this way, Bachelor Bingo really engages the viewer in the TV show in a very intimate way. 🙂 We cannot wait to start our next league in May!

I posted back in ?January? about The Bachelor GIFs and mentioned this fantasy league. My team netted me last place. Oy! Kristy ran away with the contest… lucky choices, I suppose. 😉 But I think the five of us had a lot of fun. Next time we will be changing the draft rules just a bit to make the teams larger and maybe I can last longer in the competition?

 

Shown: The Final Rose and our league prizes.
 
Ashley made The Finale Rose, her signature cocktail. Totally yummy! I highly recommend sampling any of her signature cocktails if you ever get a chance. I’ve never been disappointed.

But how about those two lovebirds?!?! I was a Lauren B. fan. I’m extremely pleased that Ben chose Lauren B. on The Bachelor. And JoJo as the new Bachelorette? Great choice, ABC. Her voice is a little annoying, but her nail polish and style points make up for that small, petty complaint.

Chinchilly by Essie

Work. A lot of time was spent at work.

We are the last two people at work. The eye clinic staff is dedicated.

That hole I dug myself (not on purpose) when I was on vacation? Yeah, I’m just now seeing what sea level looks like. We’ve had some incredibly challenging cases at work lately. Just last Friday I had a retinal tear, intractable CME, recurrent post-op uveitis x2, a huge NAION, severe retinopathy with macular edema, and a sixth nerve palsy. That’s a lot of charts to sign and care to coordinate.

We survive, though. Being understaffed in the eye clinic has proved challenging. We’ll be back down to 2 providers once Johnson goes on paternity leave. But at least the residents are a little more self-sufficient than this summer or early fall. Always a plus side, right?

It would be lovely to get the 2 providers who are currently in the boarding process. It would be lovely to get our clinic expansion we were promised. It would be lovely to have less administrative duties that interrupt my patient care. I’ve had a lot of whiny moments lately, but for every whiny moment I’ve had 3 excited moments. 

You have no idea what this picture is… so let’s just move on to the next photo.
 

Example A: woman couldn’t get to the clinic until after 4pm. She shows up, tells me she is crazy, tried really hard to read those letters, and then hugged me for calling her the day before to get her to come in for an exam.

Example B: I took a picture just yesterday of an early horseshoe tear through our slit lamp camera using a 78D lens AND my scleral depressor. Yeah buddy.

Example C: My grand rounds presentation was accepted for the 2016 American Academy of Optometry meeting in Anaheim, California!!!

Late evenings are worth it sometimes. 

My reward! Beautiful evening!
 

High School Basketball Games

 

How did I not save the photo of dad coaching? His girls, though, took plenty selfies. This night was on my birthday!
 
My dad coached at AAA Logan High School this year, and as per every year around my birthday, games were to be attended. Lots of games, I had hoped. Alas, we only got to attend 2 games. The first was the night of my birthday, when the team won. The next was last week, when the team lost.

The most difficult aspect was seeing my dad being the head coach. The actual head coach had a health scare… and then he was hospitalized… and then he had surgery! It was terrible news, and I was nervous for both of the men.

But what a great time getting to spend some weeknights with my family! I miss them!

Can you play basketball in Tory Burch flats? Taylor can.

Snowshoe, West Virginia

  
During ski season, it is odd to find a post on my blog that doesn’t have a ski picture or mention me skiing. This time around… a video! Paul and I are learning how to ski bumps (moguls, but not the crazy ones). I bobbled at the top and I tried to spray Bri with snow at the end of the video; the middle of the video isn’t a bad representation of my current bump ski level. b e g i n n e r.

And that’s it! That’s all I’ve got for you this week. I’m pretty excited I was able to even hit publish on this one with all the stuff going on in my world. 

Until next time, tell me what you’ve been up to lately in the comments below. Have you gone on a vacation? Bought a car? Hung out with an awesome kid? Gone for a bike ride? Please share!

Gratitude Fills The Holes & Happy Birthday To Me!

Okay, first up, yesterday was my birthday! What a fun day and thank you to all the people who made it special. 🙂 Now then…

Crumbling brick walls still stand.

Have you ever just looked at a brick wall? Really observed the missing mortar? Wondered how the wall can keep standing when the binding agent is crumbling; when it seems that the mortar is barely holding the wall together?

At times I feel like I’m that brick wall. My gaps in the mortar are tiny holes in my heart, bruises that threaten to harm my integrity. How do I fill these holes?

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See those slips of paper? There’s something to be thankful for written on them.

Back in November, Brown Dog Yoga offered the chance for its students to write their gratitude on a little slip of paper, roll it up, and slip it in a crack in the brick wall. These thanks still fill the gaps in the mortar even today. Thankfulness, gratitude. Those are the things that fill those holes.

So how do I fill my holes, my gaps, the chinks in my armor? Gratitude & thankfulness.

And, wow, do I have a lot to be thankful for.

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One dark nail in a sea of super bright pink.

I got my nails done Tuesday night as a birthday treat. Hot pink, almost Pepto pink. But a happy pink. My left ring finger nail is a shimmery dark grey, almost black. Why? My life is full of brightness, and sometimes it gets a little dark. But that darkness isn’t bleak… it’s sparkly. It shimmers.

That’s thankfulness represented. The shimmering base of the darkness. At times I feel low, I cling to my gratitude to fill the gaps in my mortar. It supports me so I don’t crumble. It fills the holes so that tomorrow I shine a little brighter. Hopefully I go from the dark grey to the bright pink; it takes time. But it happens.

Gratitude and thankfulness. I can’t live without them.

And why did I choose my left ring finger? I’m committed to myself, my growth, my abilities, my vulnerabilities. Ever day that I have this manicure, I’ll get to look down and be reminded that my energy is bright. I’ll know my thankfulness includes being my own brand of crazy, my own uniqueness. I’m me, crumbling mortar and all. And I accept that. I’m committed to me.

And for that I am thankful.

SECO Recap: Meet & Greet With Optometrists

Oh, how I love going to Disney World! The meet & greets are some of my favorite parts of going to the parks. Mickey, Minnie, Belle, Prince Charming… I love them all.

Going to optometry conferences is very much the same experience for me. Being able to meet & greet with fellow eye doctors is so enjoyable. The camaraderie is something that is experienced in other occupations, I’m sure, and it is nice to be able to nerd out with people who get the same type of humor.

Would you like to meet some of the people I ran into at the AFOS & SECO meetings?

  1. Scott Slagle! I’ve gone to lots of meetings. They get made 100x better when I get to spend time with Dr. Slagle. My career would be nowhere near where it is today if it weren’t for him. 

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Scott Slagle: my residency supervisor and my ultimate example of a compassionate, brilliant, and enjoyable person.
2. Tammy Than! I was so excited when I found out Dr. Than was going to be able to come to the AFOS meeting at SECO to lecture. She really takes the cake when it comes to content, organization, and delivery. Subtle humor, concise, and thorough! I’m not nearly as intelligent.

Poor picture of me... quick selfie so Tammy could get started with her lecture.
Poor picture of me… quick selfie so Tammy could get started with her lecture.
3. James Venable: “It’s not a democracy, it’s a dictatorship.” Dr. Venable said that during my first year in optometry school when we were essentially whining about the test schedule. Haha! We got over it.

Dr. Venable in the middle!
Dr. Venable in the middle!
4. Chris Lievens: I have so many memories of Dr. Lievens from lab and clinic. He was always very encouraging of me in pursuit of my passions, and I thank him!

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Dr. Chris Lievens and I were waiting to hear from his wife and one of my mentors, Kristin Anderson.
4. Steve Wilson: His son, Wes, is my sister’s photographer. We figured we’d get a selfie together at the expo to say, “see, we take good photos, too!” Hahah! Hometown pride!

Dr. Wilson was really into this selfie.
Dr. Wilson was really into this selfie.
5. Steven Lowinger: I met him as part of our “Optometrists Who CrossFit” group meetup in Seattle, Washington in 2013. It’s amazing how both of our passions combined to bring us together. So good seeing you!

Steven Lowinger and I... how he found me in a crowd of 4000 people I'll never know.
Steven Lowinger and I… how he found me in a crowd of 4000 people I’ll never know.

I, obviously, met so many more people. But I don’t want to bore you… nor do either of us have the time! Until Thursday!

 

PS: Tomorrow is my 32nd BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Race Recap: Disney’s Enchanted 10K & Princess Half Marathon (Glass Slipper Challenge)

The Glass Slipper Challenge is done. Welcome back to the half marathon world, Meghan. Your injury took you out pretty hard, but you proved your resilience and strength. Care to tell us your thoughts on the 10K & Half Marathon?

The Disney Enchanted 10K and Princess Half Marathon (Glass Slipper Challenge) were Saturday & Sunday this weekend. I’ll make this short for those that just want to see the pictures: 3am wake up calls are no joke when you are running races. 🙂

Inside the race retreat kids area: Hercules, bean bags, and a bunch of adults about to run 13.1 miles in less than an hour.
Inside the race retreat kids area: Hercules, bean bags, and a bunch of adults about to run 13.1 miles in less than an hour.

Day 1 (Thursday): drive to Cincinnati, fly to Orlando, go to race expo, spend lots of money, eat dinner at the “resort”, go to bed happy.

Day 2: Magic Kingdom! 3:30pm dinner at Be Our Guest. Go to bed happy at 8:30pm.

Day 3 (Enchanted 10K): 3am wake up call, on bus by 4am, wait around until 5:30am, run 6.2 miles, lose my Minnie Ears at mile 6.18999384439, take a 2 hour nap, eat 3:30pm dinner at The Boathouse, bedtime at 8:30pm.

Day 4 (Princess Half Marathon): Now the good stuff, and I’m sure it’s the reason why you are here reading this post. 🙂 The half marathon was a great experiences. Disney really knows what they are doing when it comes to organizing races. Maybe a few more shuttles could have been utilized, but 3 at a time came by our hotel in basically 15 minute intervals, so I can’t really complain too much.

We got to the race retreat and had a bagel & cream cheese. Then we followed the massive crowds to our corral (D). The 10K waiting period was terrible because you only walked 400 meters at most to get the corral. This time we walked almost a mile to get to the start line. My mother wondered aloud, “can we count this to our 13 miles?”

Miss America was there and she sang the national anthem. The Fairy Godmother was the official starter, who sent us on our way with her magic words and fireworks. And we were off running. I was concerned my legs weren’t going to be able to hold up because of the difficulties I had during the 10K. I was right. The Glass Slipper Challenge was no joke!

My hamstrings were leaden. It was almost awful. But definitely not as bad as Run The Bluegrass or the Diva. Taylor was struggling because of her sunburn gift the Florida weather gave her the day before. Not sure how she even moved with as bad as the sunburn was. Momma Elkins seemed to be strong.

Here we are with the REAL Anastasia, Lady Tremaine, and Drizella.
Here we are with the REAL Anastasia, Lady Tremaine, and Drizella.

Our costumes: Taylor was Cinderella. Mom was Anastasia. And I was Drizella! I had a lot of fun with it… even though my choker couldn’t stay on for longer than the bus ride to the race. 🙂 Seriously, this picture might be my favorite photograph that’s ever been taken in the history of Disney races. 🙂

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WE wanted to go to the ball instead of Cinderella.
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SEE- Drizella’s foot can fit in the glass slipper. (You can’t see the glass slipper because I’ve got it covered up with my running shoe.)

The Glass Slipper Challenge was certainly a challenge for me. Coming off of injury, I wasn’t sure how my ankle was going to hold up across the 13 miles. I think it did okay; only a little swelling post race. My heart rate was sky high through the race… and my breathing was off… but I’ve got things to work on now, I guess, right? Eventually my legs will realize they are strong again, and my cardio-respiratory-capacities will normalize. I can’t wait for that day.

Water & Aid Stops: bravo to Disney volunteers! There was just about a 1:1 ratio of water stops to miles. Only one food station–Gu. Yuck. I could really support the addition of jelly beans or other candy (or fruit) to the aid stations. Bravo to the medical teams, too. I almost got feisty with a medic because he wouldn’t give me the Coca-Cola that was sitting off to the side. I just needed some carbs! He wanted me to drink PowerAde for the electrolytes. Look, dude, I know what my body can handle, and it loves Coke during a half marathon. Just give me a half glass. And thanks for the Tylenol. 🙂

The Medals (aka The Bling): I’m so so so excited for the medals. The bling really are awesome. Super heavy, good quality engraving, nice sparkles! Worth running two races for three medals.

The Mile Markers: My only complaint with the mile markers is the one thing I liked about them being in the dark. The lights inside the markers make them stand out from far away, and you can actually see them in the pre-dawn hours. But the lit-up signs create difficult lighting challenges for photographs. Catch-22.

The Race Retreat: To be honest, I think the retreat is worth the extra cost… but maybe not $150 extra. I get too nauseous post-races for me to enjoy a full breakfast. The cold drinks and the medical attention under the huge tent were worth it, though. And the fact that it was covered from the elements made for a good bonus. I’d buy a ticket again, I think.

Overall: My mom doesn’t want to run another Disney race because she wants to do Disney when she comes to Disney World. Running 19.3 miles in two days make for tired legs. Tired legs make for difficult navigation in the parks. I get what she is saying, but I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. I will definitely do another Disney Race. Wine & Dine opens on March 16th!

I LOVE Main Street USA. Such joy!
I LOVE Main Street USA. Such joy!
I did NOT love Mile 10. I was so done with this race.
I did NOT love Mile 10. I was so done with this race.
My feather stayed in my hair! So excited! Almost done!
My feather stayed in my hair! So excited! Almost done!
Thank you, Fairy Godmother, for making my dreams come true!
Thank you, Fairy Godmother, for making my dreams come true!
And the BEST part of the day: meeting Mickey Mouse! I haven't met him since I was 2 years old. And this time I was wearing my race bling!
And the BEST part of the day: meeting Mickey Mouse! I haven’t met him since I was 2 years old. And this time I was wearing my race bling!

Dating Is Like Sampling Flavors At Cold Stone Creamery

I’ve recently been asked about my thoughts on dating multiple people at once… I think it’s akin to sampling ice cream at Cold Stond Creamery.

Dating is fun, exciting, and amazing! You believe that?

It can be. But it can also be stressful. With a generation of ghosters (I’m guilty of it, too, unfortunately), it’s difficult to judge a person. I tend to keep myself guarded so that when they ghost me it doesn’t hurt so bad.

Let’s get one thing straight right away, though- just because I’m dating you doesn’t mean I’m in a relationship with you. There is no exclusivity. There is no “in a relationship with” status on Facebook. We are just going on dates, figuring out if we like each other, and hoping the other one doesn’t ghost us.

That said- can you date other people? Can I?

Absolutely.

And here’s my random thought… an analogy, if you will, about dating and ice cream. 

You’re supposed to choose a flavor after sampling all the ice cream available.
 

You go to Cold Stone Creamery. Most people sample a bunch of different flavors, and that’s perfectly fine! But at the end of the day, the goal is to pick a flavor to fill your “Like It”, “Love It”, or “Gotta Have It” container. No problem with sampling; Cold Stone just wants to make sure you actually buy something. It’s terrible to think that you’d sample all these flavors just to end up walking away without buying anything.

That’s your Meghan’s Musing of the week, folks. Don’t walk away from a bunch of possible relationships because you keep sampling the flavors. Give one of them a chance in a “like it”, “love it”, or “gotta have it”. 

And on a completely unrelated note, I bought a ton of books recently. I have a book-buying problem… I guess I could have a worse problem: not having any flavors to sample at Cold Stone Creamery!

Have you read any of these books?
 
Also, a couple of great reads for you to check out:

Why Good People Ghost (such a good read that my friend shared it twice a week apart)

Love What Matters (embed link not behaving properly… will update later!) Click here to go straight to the Facebook post. 

And, because it was Valentine’s Weekend:  

WordPress was having trouble with the embed. I’ll fix it as soon as I get home. If you can’t wait until then, though, be sure to head to Ms. Gilbert’s page to read the whole card. ?
<3 xoxo

-Meghan