Month: February 2014

One Mile at a Time

Miami Marathon RunnersApproximately 25,000 people representing over 75 countries filled the streets of Miami last weekend for the annual Miami Marathon/Half Marathon race. Samuel Kipkosgei Malakwen of Kenya took home the prize as the winner of the male marathon, finishing the 26.2 mile race in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 46 seconds. Mariska Kramer Postma of the Netherlands finished the women marathon in 2 hours, 49 minutes and 28 seconds, winning the race two years in a row! Wow!

As I looked out the window last Sunday morning, I saw these thousands of people lined up and filled with excitement; ready to take on the challenge of doing something most people only dream of doing. Some were successful at completing the challenge set and finished the race; but the aftermath for some was grave. Loud sirens from the ambulance echoed in the streets as many were put on stretchers and taken away – some from injuries and others just pure exhaustion.

I am no expert at marathons, since quite frankly I have never done one and I am not sure I would have the guts or the stamina to do one. The longest race I ran was a 10k, and by the 4 mile marker I literally felt like I was going to die. A friend had convinced me to do that race, and when race day came I did not feel as ready as I should have been. Looking back, I am not sure how I finished that race but I did. It was more the mental determination that drove my body to the finish line. That, for me, was a huge accomplishment.

However, several of my friends run half-marathons and marathons. I have so much admiration and respect for them. There is a certain level of training, dedication, and will power that is necessary to pound 26.2 miles of pavement and finish the race. From my conversations with them over the years, the ultimate goal in doing these races is not to win the race, the ultimate goal is to FINISH!

A beloved law school professor at Georgia was often quoted for saying “law school is a marathon, not a series of sprints.” He was right. I will take it a step further and say “life is a marathon, not a series of sprints.” To be successful, we have to take life in strides, we have to pace ourselves, we have to train, we have to be dedicated, and we must have the will power and stamina necessary to overcome the obstacles we will inevitably face. We have to take things one mile at a time; one day at a time.

Most importantly, however, we have to surround ourselves with positive people who will lift our spirits. Cheerleaders, of sorts, who will cheer us on to finish this race!

Have a wonderful Saturday!

Christine

Learning to See Through the Fog

Miami Fog 2 I woke up this morning to a foggy downtown Miami. In the seven months we have lived here, I have not seen anything like this before. I am usually greeted in the mornings with bright, sunny skies. And it made me think, in many ways, about our move here.

Most of you who know me well know this move was particularly difficult. As open as I usually am to change, I was not particularly thrilled about THIS change. I was perfectly comfortable in Atlanta. I was surrounding by a strong circle of family and friends, a great job, and I city I grew to love and call home. Sometimes, we are forced to step outside of our comfort zone. It builds character, THEY say.

My husband was offered the opportunity of a lifetime; a dream job! I was happy and elated for him! I was proud. However, in the midst of my joy for him, I was also sad. Because that meant I would have to give up the job I loved and move away from loved ones. It meant we would be starting over. Marriage is a lot about sacrifice and compromise. He was positive this would be a great move for our family, which back then consisted of HE and I. I was hopefully, but mostly I saw fog. Nonetheless, I took the leap and here we are.

The past seven months have been challenging to say the least. I had heard to give myself a year to fully adjust to the move. It was almost like going through the five stages of grief. Okay, that analogy may be a bit extreme, but I’ve had moments of some, if not all of those feelings. I spent quite some time seeing only the fog – the things I did not like about Miami. I am not sure when it happened, but one day I realized it was not so much Miami that I hated. It was more the life in Atlanta that I loved. That love was overpowering. Some would say I’m crazy!

“You LIVE in MIAMI!”

“What more could you want?”

Admittedly, the weather here [for the most part] is wonderful. Very much like Jamaica, my homeland. We are surrounded by beautiful beaches, and a breathtaking view! But I had to allow myself time to grieve; and grieve I did. Until I had an epiphany.

I realized I could not allow THIS change to CHANGE who I am. So, I searched for the positives, I looked beyond the fog to find the beauty. We all have those moments, I am sure. Moments where we can only see the negatives of a given situation. If we look far enough, and try to see past the present, we can find solace and hope for the future. It was not until I changed that attitude that I was able to begin to appreciate Miami, our new HOME!

Until next time,

Christine

Legends

Bob-Marley-SmileToday, February 6th, Bob Marley fans all over the world celebrate the birth of this iconic and legendary musical hero. I am one of them. In fact, I spent most of the day today listening to his music and “jamming” in my office to many of his tunes I know oh so well. We all have our favorites. For me, “No Woman, No Cry”, “Redemption Song”, “One Love”, “Three Little Birds”, “Get Up, Stand Up” and “War” are on the top of my list. He was a true lyrical genius.

To fully understand the impact Bob Marley has made, however, we have to look beyond his music. True, his music transcended time, countries, races, and politics. I get chills listening to some of his songs. But what made Bob so great? From all accounts, Bob Marley was a charismatic soul! He was loved by many, but he also had his share of enemies. What made Bob Marley so great was his message and he used his music to deliver his message in spite of the consequences. His message was one of peace, equality, justice and love. The attack on his life proved his message was controversial, but it also proved he stood up for what he believed in and that made him a hero; It made him a legend!

A legend is often described as a very important or famous person. Very few of us will achieve the level of fame Bob Marley achieved. In fact, people are often revered only after they depart this earth and are no longer with us. But, we too can be legends. A very good friend of mine is always encouraging us to be a “Peacock Among Hens.” We should strive, in everything we do, to be an inspiration to others. Sometimes that means standing out from the crowd. Sometimes that means speaking up for those who don’t have the voice to speak for themselves. Sometimes that means being quiet in the midst of noise. Whatever, it is, let us try to be legends!  Our impact may not be as great, but it will most certainly be felt!

Your Friend,

Christine

Dare to Dream

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Almost thirteen years ago, August 2001, my pregnant mother and I boarded a flight from Kingston, Jamaica to travel to the big city of Atlanta, Georgia. Our final destination: Wesleyan College in Macon, aka Mac Town, Georgia. I remember the people at the airport giving my mother  a hard time; she was in fact, 7 months pregnant with my little brother. But there was NO WAY they were going to stop her from taking her daughter, her first born, to college.

You see, about a year before that I came up with the brilliant idea of attending college in the United States. My plan at that time was to attend college and then apply to law school to one day become an attorney. REALLY! [Toneille Raglan, Rochelle Gordon, and Samantha Burke can attest to the fact that we’ve been talking about law school decades ago under the tree at St. Andrew High School – ironically, we are all lawyers – for better or worst]. My mom didn’t exactly know how she was going to handle the financial restraints of sending me overseas, alone, for college. But we both stepped out in faith that day!

As happy as I was, I still vividly remember sitting on the airplane, crying. It was a mixture of sadness and sorrow about leaving my family and friends behind, and also fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of change! How will I manage on my own? How will I navigate in a foreign county? What will I eat? But I knew then, a window of opportunity had opened for me, and I would either seize it then, or spend my whole life wondering: what if?

Wesleyan College, my dear Alma Mater, had given me the opportunity of a lifetime! I had the chance at a New Beginning. And there I was: eighteen years old, young, afraid, and impressionable. But I had dreams. I had dreams of a better tomorrow and I used those dreams to formulate goals and I turned those goals into reality!

Dare to Dream, my Friends! Dare to Dream!