Riding the waves

I composed this blog post as I ran four miles last night. I love when inspiration hits and so I’m going with it. My run started out pretty normal; I’m generally a slow runner (and that’s okay), but the late afternoon sun hitting remnants of color in the trees would carry me through, I was certain. I started out with my usual play list, jamming along, repeating several of my faves, especially as I climbed the long hill by one of the huge Amish farms near our house.

I love this part of my run, as the landscape appears almost hilly, undulating between forest and farm. The Amish have these beautiful horses pasturing in the field, the sky took on hazy blue tones and started to mix with the light purples and pinks. I imagined a full moon rising, which recently it did, and savored every moment as I trotted on by.

moon over farm

Here’s a pic of my view. I took this during the last full moon, which is why I could so clearly envision it on my Sunday evening run!

On the down hill, I began to hit a rhythm (arguably easier with gravity on my side). I noticed my legs feeling stronger (courtesy of those CrossFit Worthy squats, I’m sure!) and I easily kept focused ahead. At one point, as I was jamming and keeping time with Melissa Etheridge, I looked to my right and caught the ah-mazing colors of the sunset streaking across the fields. You know when you have those moments that just seem surreal?

Clearly, I was having one of them, hitting a groove that felt awesome!

Then Donny Osmond + Susan Boyle came on my iPod with their heartfelt rendition of All I Ask of You from Phantom of the Opera (yes, I have Donny on my iPod). I had this song in my playlist because I only recently saw the production for the first time last spring with our McNair scholars. I couldn’t stop singing this song! One of the main reasons we take our students to see these awesome performances is so that they can experience and feel the exuberance and passion of the performance. That song just goes right through you and last night was no exception.

wide-eyed fear

This is what I felt like as I sang along with Donny and Susan.

Despite my usual timidness, I allowed myself to sing aloud (if just a bit, here and there, and really only the horses and cows might hear) and pretty soon I was trying to hit the high notes + hand gesturing as all get out. I just searched for an image of a person running with their arms extended forward (you know, as if they were singing for JOY) and this is what I came up with (see left). I admit, this might be over the top, but I’m willing to bring in the cheese factor ten-fold so that I can really nail down my point here. Besides, it’s all about the passion really. That’s what I’m really talking about here.

I started thinking about how I felt sitting in the audience and watching the Phantom performers belt out this song. I could *feel* the energy coming from Donny and Susan. It prompted me to let out a little bit of my own energy + excitement + passion. Right now I’m passionate about my students and creating a new grad student support program for them. I’m nervous about this idea but I’m taking small steps to keep moving forward regardless. Each time I do, I feel amazing. I’m letting my passion inspire action and it’s starting to build. I can feel it.

I’m letting my passion inspire action and it’s starting to build.

So here’s the thing. We all have something different that we’re a little bit (or a lot!) excited about. I think the real key is allowing ourselves to feel and really experience that passion. Even if it feels a little “new” or “different” or “scary” at first. Or you might only get a glimpse of it at first. Take these small ideas or nuggets and run with them.

We need to allow ourselves to get all wrapped up in the nuances of our own discoveries about this passion, this interest, this intrigue. And I think the more we do that, the more we can grab hold of our true talents + abilities. Our abilities begin to surface when we begin to trust ourselves enough and embrace what’s really inspiring our fancy at this particular moment in time.

I’m often perplexed talking with students, our current students and prospective ones. I think one of my primary jobs is to help students brainstorm options for their future. It’s often the case, however, that they haven’t got a clue! And they feel stressed and worried about this. I can definitely understand why too.

I don’t think it’s something you can force or rush, but rather, just keep investigating … by taking different classes, talking to professors, doing Google searches on career paths, reading up on topics that grab your attention. You’ve got to be open + proactive when it comes to the exploration process. But then once something “tickles your fancy” you’ve got to run with it.

You’ve got to trust yourself in the process.

By “run with it” I mean start expressing yourself in relation to your passion. Talk about it with friends, asks questions if you are taking a class in the subject, write about it (formally + informally), look for opportunities to get further ingrained in what it is you’re interested in (think internships, shadowing, volunteering, whatever it takes).

I also think that it’s okay (and very common) to have multiple passions. Having an array of things that really “float your boat” can help feed the different areas of your life. That’s how I feel about my yoga practice, running and CrossFit. I’m really “into” those things and I’m finding the energy + growth that emerges as a result fuels my work, me being a good mom and more.

running shoes

Nothing better than a fall run to clear your head + get yourself jazzed up!

I encourage you to dive deep with your interests. Let your passion go where it needs to go. Try letting your passions fuel each other. Allow yourself to be surprised. You never know where you’ll end up. And that’s the true beauty of it.

lmc xo

What my students teach me

I get to spend a bunch of time with my students, especially during the summer. And I love it. We get a first-hand view of them learning how to do research, busting a move for the GRE and searching for the *most amazing* graduate opportunity out there among the gazillion options available (read: can be kinda challenging). We get to eat with them – quite often actually – and workout with them – sounds weird, but really cool – and just hang out on occasion – think sitting campfire-side + maybe crashing weddings, but I digress.

The point is: we are teaching our scholars a lot about the process of becoming successful graduate students, but we get to learn a lot along the way too. Win win you say! That’s what I say. In a sense, we’re all experimenting with this idea of what it means to live your best life. We all want to do work that matters. We all want to reach our potential, challenge ourselves. We want to feel good while we’re at it, which means taking care of ourselves too. It’s an ongoing dialogue, it’s trial and error, it’s sharing breakthroughs and challenging each other to step up to the plate. Which could mean applying for that reach school or doing that strict pull-up by December first.

Either or … or both! lol

One thing in particular that happened this summer is: singing in the car. That’s right, singing in the car. Like a boss, I might add. (okay, maybe I stole that line from my students) McNair road trips have translated into having the McNair playlist ready to go, and I have to say, it’s been pretty interesting for me. You see, I’ve always been shy about singing. I remember being at church and feeling the pressure to sing, and just not wanting to. I guess I was just really self-conscious about the whole idea. Not that we sang a ton in the family vehicle (two-tone blue station wagon), but in those scenarios I wouldn’t sing either. I’m not sure if it’s more awkward to sit mute when others are singing or to make myself sing, but probably not “do it full-out” since I’m shy about singing in the first place. I would say it’s a bit of a catch-22.


along for the ride!

I admire people who can sing. We’ve had several scholars come through who consider themselves “singers” and it fascinates me. I think it takes a lot of courage to sing. So when I found myself in a vehicle on the way down to Kentucky with a group of scholars who like to sing along to the radio, I found it pretty entertaining! Let’s just say that not only did I find myself loosening up and smiling a lot, I learned the words to some new songs as well (that’s as much as I can say about that). So it happened that this same “sing along group” would congregate in my vehicle throughout the summer. I’m now the proud owner of an aux cord and I have a monthly subscription to Spotify. So I can access our McNair playlist, of course!


enjoying some tunes!

The reason I bring this whole thing up is that I think it’s good thing to loosen up sometimes. Let yourself go and just ease on into the moment. Let yourself be yourself. That’s what my scholars were doing as they all sang the Journey classic, Don’t Stop Believin’ at the top of their lungs. I’m still not singing full-out, but I’m loosening up if just a bit. And I’m definitely looking forward to that next car ride. Turns out my students have a ton to teach me + I love it.

Making me smile!

Mrs. Lundsted is light. She’s a classroom dream (my perception based on more than one kid coming through her doors). She brings light + love wherever she goes. And she also brings the substance, when it comes to getting down to business, engaging with her students and teaching them a thing or two.

I confess that I look forward to pick-up because I get to see Mrs. Lundsted dancing on the sidewalk. Now that might sound strange if you aren’t already “in the know” when it comes to our pick-up/drop-off area, but the teachers have taken to role of traffic control and crossing guard to help our good parents safely deliver and retrieve their chillies (good souls they are). No one embraces this role more wholly than Mrs. Lundsted.


Mrs. Lundsted dancing up a storm.

I would be remiss, however, if I didn’t also give a BIG SHOUT OUT to Mr. Ruble and his ability to shuffle both cars + bodies along quite readily, all the while keeping a pretty even keel – something I know I would certainly have trouble doing!

But, back to Mrs. Lundsted. I’m writing this post because I think Mrs. Lundsted’s approach to life is worth highlighting. It’s worth passing along, letting it “rub off” on others around, letting folks know that it’s okay to dance in the car line. And that’s exactly what she does! And she’s got the moves, let me tell you. Fancy feet, freely sporting the hand sign for love to all that pass by, she helps the kiddos into the cars and touches them with her light.

Mrs. Rudert posted this lovely image the other day and Mrs. Lundsted “liked it.” Of course she did and I did too cause I want to have what she’s having. I want to radiate love + light and send out those positive vibes to whoever might be open to capturing them in return.


Life’s too short to be any other way. <3


My good friend, Jeanine, finally got her horse. He arrived Saturday and his name is Regal. He’s deep black and gorgeous. I drove past her house on Sunday and had to stop because I saw him standing outside the barn. Jeanine was napping in her little makeshift bed she assembled so that she could spend the first few nights with her new love. He had been with other horses his whole life and so going solo would be something new!

It’s actually hard for me to describe the sheer delight + joy that I witnessed in my friend that beautiful sunny afternoon. Jeanine told me all about Regal, her plans for getting him used to his new home, how she would be riding him on a regular basis (also something very new for him) and how she would give him warm sponge baths and groom his coat.


Jeanine’s new beauty.

I haven’t really been around horses and so standing right next to such a strong and beautiful creature was a pretty awe-inspiring experience for me, even more so knowing this moment to be so precious to my friend. Jeanine showed me how to let him sniff my hand at first. I could already see Regal falling in love himself, totally at ease with Jeanine and allowing her to take his life into her own.

That might seem “over the top,” but that doesn’t stop me from describing it that way. You see, that’s how it is when you find a passion. When you are in love with something so much that everything else seems to fall away. I must have given Jeanine five or six hugs before I left. We talked about how it’s been a long time coming. She pointed out that she simply decided to DO IT NOW.

Get the horse now. Indulge in your passion, whatever that might be. Don’t wait and wait until conditions are “right.” Jeanine was done waiting.

Love that message! Yes, please. Let me have some of what you’re having. Passion can be contagious, I think. Witnessing it – in its most basic form – is a thing of beauty. Jeanine’s courageous move forward is inspiring to me on lots of levels. She’s jumping in, not entirely knowing if this horse will be “the perfect horse,” without knowing if she might experience some challenges down the road, which is sure to be the case. And that’s okay, because that’s also how it goes with passion. You’ve got to follow it, trust that you have the wherewithal to handle things that come up (good or bad) and just keep on moving forward, relishing in the beauty of the moment … the beauty + joy + excitement that only true passion can bring.


You are invited.

How do YOU want to feel?

In your career. Your relationships. Your life.

That’s it. That’s the beauty of desire mapping. Figuring out how you want to feel and then doing things to make you feel that way. Sounds pretty simple and straightforward, doesn’t it?

Right! Except it has the potential to radically shift how think about and approach … well, everything. I like to think of this exercise as simple but profound.

I first started exploring my core desired feelings about two years ago and it’s really created a beautiful shift in my life. In small + big ways. This is why I wish to bring this work to you. That’s why I’ll be hosting my very first Desire Map Workshop in January …

and YOU are invited.


You are invited to explore this process for yourself. You are invited to join our Soul Circle of Desire Mappers who are seeking greater clarity for the New Year. You are invited to give yourself this gift of time and space … to stop and reflect and recharge. I’m inviting you to invest in yourself and to do it within the company and beauty of our special group.

Desire Map the New Year
Saturday, January 31
10:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Twelve 17 Coffee Shop

I am keeping this inaugural Soul Circle of Desire Mappers intentionally intimate to really help support and facilitate this work. I have a feeling (no pun intended!) that these ten spots will go fast.

So if this special opportunity is calling out to you –

reserve YOUR seat HERE.

Can’t wait to share in this experience.


I’m doing it.

I’m becoming a Desire Map licensee. And I’m ecstatic! The move feels right and good and so I’m going for it. Two years ago now I hosted my first workshop leading participants through the Desire Mapping process as created by the most awesome Danielle LaPorte. I had two participants (kind souls that they are!) and my friend, Kamar, who I drafted in last minute. I learned a lot from that experience and I’m taking it as a sign that I’m meant to grab onto this opportunity and run with it.

I believe in the Desire Map process. In short, it’s a whole new way of approaching goal setting in your life. Instead of shooting for the tangible outcomes, you set your goals and intentions based on how you want to feel along the way. How you want to feel.

I know. Revolutionary.


my core desired feelings.

It’s easy and it’s not so easy. When’s the last time you really thought about how you want to feel and then actually did stuff that allowed you to feel that way? If you haven’t tried it, you ought to. It’s a fun way to think about your life and your daily flow. It’s a great mindset to start cultivating.

Stay tuned for the first official Desire Map event hosted by >>> yours truly! 



I don’t know about you but I’m way more productive and happy when I care less about things. It’s not like I don’t give two shits about whatever might be at hand, but when I start trying to achieve a certain outcome or begin second-guessing my actions, that’s when I get stuck in the muck.

And I don’t know about you, but I much rather be free floating and jamming it at the same time. In the zone, if you will. It’s like that inner confidence swells and I just am. I’m being who I am. I’m being who I want to be. I’m being what comes most natural. And it feels f*cking awesome.

I feel myself slipping into this mode more and more, if even for small segments of time. The more I do it though, the easier it seems to be. It’s like I’m one of those beautiful metallic blue damselflies that float from reed to reed along the rivers of summertime. They’re touching down and releasing their magic but then they’re off to the next spot in the next glance.

the beautiful damselfly. one of the best things about summer.

So I’m going to be my own way these days and float from place to place and person to person – touching down with sincere connection but not thinking too long or too hard about it. These days I’m intuiting my way.