Tag Archives: life events

Women’s Work

Saturday, I went to a luncheon as the guest of a friend from high school with whom I got reacquainted in Summer 2012 when she became a Balance client.  My friend is involved with a charity called Connecther which advocates for education and health-related issues for women and girls all over the world.  The keynote speaker was Edna Adan, which if you know about the Half the Sky Movement from either the book or documentary, you know of her— she’s had a long and amazing life as a former first lady of Somalia, a UN ambassador, and other impressive titles.  She was trained in the UK as a midwife in her young adulthood, and she always had a dream of opening a maternity hospital.  She did just that– the Edna Adan Hospital in Somaliland has had amazing success improving the maternal mortality rate by providing basic prenatal and postpartum care.  To hear this 76-year old woman speak is like having the breath of life in the same room.  Just amazing.  My friend knows that my passion lies in maternal health and wellness, and she thought I’d enjoy hearing about Edna’s work.  I was so grateful for the invitation, and I thoroughly enjoyed the luncheon.  The work that Connecther is doing is powerful, meaningful, and thoughtful.

Connecther founder Lila Igram presents Edna Adan with $10,000 to continue her work in maternal health in Somaliland.

Connecther founder Lila Igram presents Edna Adan with $10,000 to continue her work in maternal health in Somaliland.

But there was one more little thing that made the event even that much more amazing….my friend is Pakistani-American,  so many of the people seated at our table were Pakistani, too.  So I didn’t think much when this young Pakistani woman sat down next to me.  I introduced myself, she introduced herself and asked me where I’m from and what I do. Then I asked her the same.  Turns out, she is Khalida Brohi from Pakistan, and she turned 25 less than a week ago, and she’s been working since she was 16 to improve education and economic-skill-building for girls in rural villages.  I ask her more about how this works, she tells me a lot of it is based on sewing and embroidery, and we start talking about how I sew, etc……

So this young woman, the one NEXT TO BONO while she was a guest of Clinton Global Initiative, was who I ate lunch with on Saturday.

Oh, and the night before, she found out she won the 2013 Coretta Scott King ANGEL award.  You know: Advancing Nonviolence through Generations of Exceptional Leadership.  No big whoop….

Needless to say, sitting next to a just-turned-25-year-old who is QUITE LITERALLY CHANGING THE WORLD is really, really a good way to make you feel like a SuperSchlub.  But she was lovely.  Truly.  Couldn’t have been nicer or more humble or more genuinely interested in the answers to the questions she asked me.

Khalida’s organization is called Sughar Empowerment, and I urge those of you interested in supporting organizations that do real and meaningful work for girls and young women to check it out.  I cannot tell you how blown away I was buy her wisdom, poise, and commitment.

Because the world works in fascinating ways, just last week I met with some friends from high school.  We’re all turning 40 next year, so we decided to set ourselves the challenge to make small changes in our lives as a way of creating space and energy for the big changes we know we’re capable of bringing about.

Many thanks to Edna Adan and Khalida Brohi for inspiring great change in the lives of girls and women across the world.  I am moved by Edna’s words, which will guide the changes I seek to bring about in my self and my world:

“If your heart believes it, then teach your hands to do it, and encourage your feet to walk towards it.”

Good health and great happiness to you.


Tri-Style: An athlete-inspired styling event

It may still be hotter than the surface of the sun here in Austin, so I forgive you if you’re not really thinking about preparing for a triathlon right now. Thankfully, the creative and energetic Michelle Rodriguez of Well Styled has come up with a perfect late-summer triathlon. By combining the fabulous selection of athletic wear at Bettysport with makeup on-the-go tips from Rae Cosmetics and then a Q&A opportunity with personal trainers, women can have an evening of consultations tailored to personal interests and budgets.

For the first leg of the triathlon, each attendee will work one-on-one with Michelle to find the perfect workout wear from Bettysport’s women-only selection. As a bonus, all merchandise (except sale items) will be 20% off during the event!

Rochelle Rae will lead leg two, helping women to find makeup that works for their active lifestyle. Rochelle has worked with Ironman champ Desiree Flicker, so looking great through tough workouts are nothing new.

Finish up the triathlon by asking questions about your sport or exercise program. I’ll be there to share how Balance Personal Fitness Training can help women, especially expectant and new moms, learn to exercise safely and efficiently. Chris Heidel, owner of Libra Fitness, will share her strategies for meeting your weight loss goals– and maintaing them. Michelle Perez-Hittner of Advance Bodywork Austin can answer questions about different therapies that will keep you injury-free and enjoying your fit life.

The big event is Tuesday, September 14 from 6-9 pm. If you register now, the price is only $25 for an evening of fashion, fitness, and fun! Come join us!

Off to a great start!

We’re only three days in to summer vacation, but I’m feeling really good about it so far.  I know that many people like to do nothing during summer; I am not one of those people.  You’ve probably guessed by now that I have a lot of energy.  I don’t do sitting around very well.

Wednesday night The Bear’s restaurant choice was Chinatown, “because there are tablecloths and no crayons!”  Certainly finishing Kindergarten is a dignified milestone, and we celebrated accordingly.  The Monkey was well-behaved, too, and it was a refreshingly enjoyable family night out.

Thursday morning I dropped The Monkey off at MDO and The Bear and I headed to the Rockin’ River water park.  It was awesome.  We played in the fountains.  We rode around the lazy river.  I watched The Bear play on the water playscape.  We played dolphin and minnow.  We had swimming races.  But perhaps my favorite part was just lying on the deck chairs, soaking up the sun’s warmth, and The Bear saying, “I love being with you.”

Friday morning I biked both boys and myself to Fire Station 12 for a tour.  It’s one of the oldest stations in Austin, so it isn’t big or fancy.  But the boys thought it was fantastic.  They loved climbing in the fire truck, too.  Kudos to Firefighter Fred and his colleagues for being such gracious hosts.

Last night The Bear and I went to see “Annie” at Bass Concert Hall.  I had briefed him on the plot, and my sensitive boy was still a bit scared when the delightfully nasty Miss Hanigan took the stage.  He soon settled in to the magic of the musical, though, and applauded appreciatively after each number.  I was sad that he fell asleep with about 20 minutes left– but he made it until past 10.30pm, which is really late for him– but he didn’t seem to care.  He thought the whole thing was really exciting.  It was a very special night out for us.

Today there was swimming and personal training clients and a group class.  I also sewed up a dress for a birthday gift for one of  The Monkey’s friends.  We ended the day with the great summer ritual of eating ice cream.  Although we felt it was too hot to bike to Amy’s as we usually do, it wasn’t too hot for some fun playing after we ate our treat.

Sure, summer is hot.  But it’s also so much fun.

Rest. Recharge. Reframe. Renew.

After a big event like the half marathon, I like to take time to rest.  This period of rest allows my body to recharge after months of focused training, and it allows my mind to reframe my priorities.  At the end of the rest, I enjoy a renewed sense of purpose and store of energy.

I took a full week off of running.  I might ordinarily only rest 4 or 5 days, but I was still feeling the effects of my bike crash, and I felt I needed to make sure I was healed.  I began my workouts slowly, consciously feeling my muscles working and being mindfully grateful for their strength and power.  It certainly helps that the weather has been lovely of late, and breathing deeply and running through spring breezes is nourishing.

I can’t lie– I’ve had a busier than normal past few weeks.  The Bear’s Kindergarten year is wrapping up, and it seems there are now homework and activities and special presentations that require my attention and assistance.  The Husband has been travelling two out of the last three weeks, and while that means more work on the home front for me, it also means The Monkey is quite needy.  Add into the mix that I am working my old contract job right now as well, and I’m feeling pretty pressed.    The rest period came at a most opportune time, as I needed to be able to reframe my priorities and reset the balance in my life.

To that end, I have interviewed and hired a new babysitter who will work a few hours a week now through the summer.  That will give me focused time to work on my clients’ programs and maintian good communication with them.  I also took a trapeze lesson this week; while carving two precious hours out of a jam-packed schedule took some higher math to achieve, I walked away feeling confident, capable, physically powerful, and happy.  Also, I’ve spent some time with my fabrics and patterns and have a long list of sewing projects that await my attention– whenever the mood strikes.

I now feel ready to take on the next few weeks and months.  This is a busy time of year for us.  We’ve entered birthday season; and mother’s day/father’s day and anniversary season, too; we have six weeks until the end of school.  But I feel ready.  I’m rested, recharged, and ready to go.

Staying Positive in an Unbalanced World

It seems that every news story I read is more bleak than the last. We are being innundated with bad news. And this bad news is of shocking, nearly incomprehensible magnatude.

How are we to respond compassionately yet not get bogged down by the seriousness of reality?

– Take time to breathe. Stop. Be still. Listen to the sound of your breath, filling you with peace and taking out the negative, stressful thoughts. Let your breath be the center of your balance.

– Eat well. Giving your body healthy fuels will allow you to feel physically well even if your mental and spiritual health are challenged.

– Keep on exercising. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, do something that makes your heart beat a little faster. It will not only make you feel alive and present, but it will help bust the stress hormones, too.

– Take positive action. It may be a quick email to a friend to say ‘thinking of you’, or it may be coordinating a group effort to help a friend. Doing something for others reminds you of your place within humanity, and it is a powerful act that proves you are not a victim of the universe.

Most of all, be kind to yourself by removing negative news sources from your life. How much bad news do you really need to read? Can you do anything about it? Try to focus on the positive instead, and you’ll be amazed at how much more balanced you feel.