Permission Slips

I’ve been listening to Brené Brown’s Braving the Wilderness on Audible recently.  I know I need to shake things up a bit and thought her wisdom and insights on life might be a good place to start and I’ve had this book sitting in my library for awhile so why not started it on my commutes between work and doggie daycare?  One of the concepts she talks about early on is the idea of Permission slips, she talks about the first time Oprah tapped her to be on Super Soul Conversations and how she, Brene, physically wrote herself a permission slip to enjoy the moment, to be goofy and to have fun.  What a brilliant idea! My guess is that there are many areas, spaces in life where we need to give ourselves permission to be who we really are and to be true to ourselves. So I have decided to embrace this idea of permission slips and will be writing them to myself on a regular basis.  Here are some of the things I’m giving myself permission to do: 

I give myself Permission to… 

  • Not like JLo’s part of the Super Bowl HalfTime Show, I’ve never been a fan. 
  • Push my team at work to Raise the Bar.
  • Buy a new car
  • Stop indulging in self sabotaging behavior 

I give myself Permission to…

  • Write
  • Run Trails
  • To commit to my training plan, even my strength workouts 
  • To Be Successful 
  • To Be A Hot Mess 
  • To Lose the Weight
  • To Let my Gray Hair Grow Out – Maybe, I’m still not sure I’m ready
  • To No Really Care What Other People Think 
  • To Drink Less
  •  Eat More Vegetables 
  • Sleep More
  • Not Always Have My Sh&t togegther
  • To Have Fun
  • To Go Camping
  • To Have a Messy, Cluttered House 
  • To Be Grateful 

And most importantly I give myself Permission to Be Happy. 

What areas of life do you need to write to write yourself a permission slip?  

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Caution When Lifting.

What’s Weighing You Down?  

This is a thought that has been on my mind recently, especially after traveling when my suitcase inevitably gets tagged with the “Caution When Lifting Tag,” because I will predictably overpack.  So what’s the baggage that’s weighing you down? What are the thoughts, habits, fears that are holding you back? In 2020 I want to do some hard things, things that I have previously not been successful in accomplishing.  I am working really hard to change my mindset and I thought it might be helpful to unpack some of that baggage by at least naming it, releasing it, and letting it go. So here you go here are the things that tend to make my suitcase just a little too heavy, Caution When Lifting… 

  • Books I’ve never read, but plan to someday
  • Cookbooks that I occasionally flip through, but never use 
  • Clothes that are either too big or too small 
  • Shoes that I never wear because they just aren’t comfortable 
  • Coffee cups 
  • Maps to places I will probably never go 
  • Empty flower pots
  • Mismatched tools
  • A paddleboard I fully intend to use this summer
  • Two bicycles
  • Mismatched socks 
  • Baseball Hats
  • My parents divorce when I was in High School
  • Stacks of old bills, pay stubs and junk mail that need to be discarded  
  • Empty boxes (actually the empty boxes are gone)
  • 4 different canisters of oatmeal – 2 steel cut, 2 instant rolled oats 
  • More clothes 
  • Panty hose that I never wear 
  • My step father’s death 
  • Words I’ve never written 
  • Words I need to write 
  • Failed diets – too many to count 
  • Paper bags
  • Plastic Bags 
  • Bins full of things I don’t even remember that I have
  • Notebooks full of deep thoughts from my Undergrad and Graduate School Days 
  • Old family pictures 
  • 12 packages of Picky Oats 
  • Too many containers to count full of leftovers that I didn’t finish before they went bad, but they’re still in the fridge 
  • Old CDs 
  • My weight
  • Medals from races 
  • Files I can’t manage to file 
  • The fear of failing
  • Negative thoughts
  • Things I’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t done

Since writing this list out I’ve started to work on dumping my excess baggage.  I don’t want a, “too heavy,” suitcase to hold me back from accomplishing my goals in 2020.  To that end I am embarking on an adventure next weekend, as I near the 46th anniversary of my birth, I am stepping out and trying things I would have previously said no to like running the 25K at the Ouachita Switchbacks in Oklahoma next Saturday, January 18th.  I am undertrained and am fully prepared for the ass whooping the trail will probably deliver, but is a race I’ve wanted to do for a while and a trail I’ve wanted to be on for a very long time. Originally I wasn’t going to be free the weekend of the race, but now I’m free so I’m going for it.  Look for a race report soon.

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Something New…

Here we are, December 31st, 2019. I am flying west in an effort to make the last day of the year last about 3 hours longer, well not really.  I’m headed to Vegas to ring in the New Year with some of my favorite people. I’m fairly certain that if I look back there’s a post on this blog from January 1, 2019 talking about all the things I wanted to accomplish in 2019 and I’m pretty sure if I went back and reviewed said list I’d probably find I’d not really accomplished any of those things, and that’s okay. This is not really a post about looking back and rehashing what did or didn’t happen. 2019 was not the best of years.  While I did move to a new apartment and a new neighborhood, and Eloise the world’s cutest Pembroke Welsh Corgi came into my life, and I had an absolutely amazing experience at the Wilder Alumni Lab; I am ready for 2019 to be done. I try really hard to neve wish away time, but I can’t wait to ring in the new year and welcome 2020 with open arms. 

I get the feeling that 2019 was hard for many of us; the loss of parents, illnesses, failed races, failed relationships, broken bodies and broken minds.  2019 did not turn out to be the year I expected. I am writing this post today to hold up the agreement that I made with myself a few weeks back to write. To practice writing and to explore the thoughts that come to mind.  I am writing this post in an effort to show up for myself, to not hold back and to not choose to just bury myself in another episode of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; to face head on the things that sometimes keep me awake at night. To acknowledge the negative thoughts that I find hold me back and keep me from going after the life I really want.  

Life is crazy. Life is unpredictable. Life will happen while I am sitting on the couch binge watching some crazy TV show, life will happen while I spend countless hours scrolling through Instagram and Facebook.  Life will happen while I choose to waste time at work and end up getting home late. Life will happen, the clock will strike Midnight and as 2019 exits stage left 2020 will enter stage right and I want to write a different script; instead of living this half life where I dream and talk about the things I want to do, but end up in a spiral of exhaustion and overwhelm and never really do anything at all. I want to write the script where I run the trails, paddle the streams and lakes, love my body regardless of my weight and I don’t DNF my bucket list race.   Today I am writing and I am staking my claim to a year of Joy, a Year of getting off the proverbial couch and finding my way forward. To not worrying so much about what other people might think and to embracing new things. “The old things have gone away, and look, new things have arrived!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.  So I wish all a very Happy New Year, may we learn from the experiences 2019 and I hope that 2020 brings us all more light, more love, and more peace. 

Last trip to Oklahoma in 2019
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Back in the Saddle

Note: It has taken me a couple of days to work up the courage to post this to my blog. Its a little scary to put yourself out there and declare a really big scary goal, let a lone two when my recent track record hasn’t been that stellar; but here goes nothing.

Oops, I did it again.  Off I went to yet another amazing weekend in Central Oregon for a Wilder Running and Writing Retreat, ready to go deep and come back charged up and ready to work on both my writing and running.  The running has actually been pretty solid, thanks to my coach, Gregg @ultraninjarunner and #teamninjacoaching. Granted I haven’t spent much time on the trails, but I’ve found joy and strength in running and the most impossible of all races that I’ve registered for in 2020 (The Transrockies Run 6 Day Stage Race) doesn’t seem that impossible anymore; mind you the training will be a challenge, but I can already see that it will be worth it and that I can do it.

But what happened to my writing?  It’s been months since I’ve committed any amount of time to actually writing and I haven’t posted anything since August when my Step-father passed away.  I have spent countless hours playing around with ideas in my head, I even put a few down on paper, but then I would talk myself out of delving deeper and actually exploring the theme; because who really cares what I have to say about weight loss, running, depression, losing a parent, work stress, and the current fight within the United Methodist Church over inclusion of LGBTQ People in the church?  Who am I to think that my voice matters? But who am I to think that my voice doesn’t matter? And most importantly who cares what other people think, “what other people think of you is not your business,” I think is how the quote goes. For some reason that I’ve never really been able to explain, I want to write, and I want to share what I write. I am not looking to become a professional writer – I am very happy in my chosen profession, but writing brings me joy and I need to put it out into the universe.  As Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic, “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”  I am going to step out on a limb and say yes, I do!

So I am throwing caution to the winds and putting just a few intentions in writing and sharing them publicly! I will post to this blog at least twice a month, I want to primairly focus on sharing my experience training for my upcoming races as I build up to by BIG SCARY AUDACIOUS GOAL of running the Transrockies 6 Day Stage Race in Colorado this August and as I work towards returning to my WW goal weight and becoming a Lifetime Member of WW (or Weight Watchers) once again. I go in to more specifics in subsequent posts about why Transrockies and my race schedule for 2020 and why I’ve decided to return to WW after a hiatus of many, many years.  But I also plan to write about other things that strike my fancy, to try to not censor myself and thoughts so much, to dive deeper into this practice of writing.

My hope is to bring a little bit of light and love and hope to anyone that reads what I write.  To hopefully reach someone else that might be feeling the same way I am and to know that you’re not alone.  That life and going after big dreams can be hard, but it can also be worth the effort. So I invite you all along for the ride, who knows where this will take us all. 

The elevation profile for the Transrockies Run, the race starts in Buena Vista, CO and ends in Beaver Creek.

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David Oliver Galloway

There’s a story I really need to tell, its pretty complicated and messy as most of our lives and stories are and I don’t really know how to tell it right now, but some day soon maybe. For right now I want to share a part of the story. My Step Father, David Galloway passed away early Monday morning. I was privileged to be there along with my Mother and his oldest daughter Shauna, when he passed away. Our family story is a complicated one, he wasn’t a perfect person, but neither am I. I loved him and I know he loved me as he loved all of his kids.

David Oliver Galloway was born in Wichita, KS on February 26, 1932 to Oliver G and Dorothy “Fern,” West Watson.  He passed on Monday, August 12, 2019 at home in Northwest Oklahoma City. 

Dave was a proud father, grandfather and great-grandfather.  He is survived by his wife of 27 years, Jean and her sister Betty Lou; his daughter Shauna Woloszyn, husband William and their children Stephanie Mora, spouse Aaron, and their children Grey and Emmie; and Heath Woloszyn;   daughter Tami Duncan and her spouse Peter, and their children Kimberlyn Dyer, spouse Josh, and their children Everly and Tatum; Trey Duncan, spouse Melanie, and their child John Hunter; his son Justin Galloway and Stephanie Pipins Galloway, and their child Elena, and step-daughters Cindy Overturf, spouse Chris, and their child Audrey; Jennifer Fox, and step-son Tim Fox, wife Misty and their children Parker and Addie.  

As a child David’s family moved several times, he lived in Ft. Worth, TX; Muskogee, OK, Ft. Smith, AR, Ponca City and McAlester, OK.  After attending 4 different grade schools, Dave would graduate from McAlester High School before attending Oklahoma Military School in Claremore, OK for 2 years.  Dave was a proud Sooner having transferred to the University of Oklahoma at Norman where he would eventually enter Medical School and spend his 3rd year training at Wesley Hospital in Oklahoma City.  David would also complete a Master’s Degree in Public Health at OU. 

David received a commission of Lieutenant Junior Grade in the US Public Health Services and spent 2 years working at the Marine Hospital in San Francisco focusing in bacteriology in the lab, before returning to Oklahoma where he would work at Muskogee General Hospital. He would then move to Baptist Hospital in Oklahoma City where he worked for 10 years as the Chief Medical Technologist and as an instructor.  Dave would eventually settle with his family in McAlester where he served as the Administrator of the Pittsburg County Health Department and then would be tapped to serve as Facility Director for the Choctaw Nation Health Clinic where David would also support the Choctaw Nation Healthcare Center in Talahina and clinics in Broken Bow and Hugo. David proudly served in the US Public Health Service for 25 years and retired with the rank of Commander. 

An active member of his community, David would serve as President of several community and civic organizations including the McAlester Recovery Center and the Kiwanis Club.   He was an active member of the United Methodist Church and served as a lay leader and Sunday school teacher in McAlester and Fairview. David had a strong Christitan faith and was active in the Gideons International leading local church presentations and serving as President of the McAlester Camp.  Following his retirement and relocation to Fairview, OK; David would be called to start a ministry at the Major County Jail. 

Flying was a big part of David’s formative years, but he would not obtain his personal pilots license until he turned 65 when he received flying lessons as a birthday gift from Jean.  David and Jean would spend their weekends flying across Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas visiting family and friends in their Cessna 150. David loved to share his passion for flying with others, he helped support the Fairview Free Fly-In and was always willing to take students up in his plane, inspiring several to learn how to fly.

David loved to share is love of the Lord, flying, running and his knowledge of laboratory sciences with others.   He loved his blended, extended family and most especially his beloved Beagle Buff, “the best dog he ever had.”

Services will be held at Quail Springs United Methodist Church at 14617 N. Pennsylvania, Oklahoma City, OK 73134 on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to Gideons International or the Alzheimer’s Association.

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I was sitting in the back of the 4 seater ATV driving along the rough forest service roads that run through the mountains of the Rio Grande National Forest outside of South Fork, CO. As was the case last year I had ended up taking a week of vacation and traveling to my family’s beloved cabin which just my sweet puppy Eloise for company. As our group bumped along the road through forests of pine and aspen underneath a brilliant blue sky I inhaled the crisp air and thought why? Why am I not brave enough to do more things like this, to message a complete stranger and ended up seeing the mountains from a very different perspective as part of a guided tour. Why didn’t I spend more time outside camping, hiking, biking, kayaking when I was back home in Texas? Why did I still keep thinking in the back of my head that I needed the permission of my friends, family, peers to do the things I really want to do? Earlier in the week as Eloise and I were exploring some trails and alpine lakes we drove past a campground and there was a single woman, setting up her camp and I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy. How can she be so brave, what about the bears and mountain lions and the other things that go bump in the night? Did she have a chorus of well meaning people telling her its not safe to be out alone and to be careful? Maybe she did and maybe she didn’t care? I would guess by her outfit of a skirt and brightly colored knee socks that she didn’t really care what other people thought.

So how do I give myself permission to shape and reform myself into this wild woman that loves to be outdoors, that loves to be active and wants to explore these experiences that also quite frankly scare her too? How do I give myself permission to keep writing when the writing doesn’t flow and I am not experiencing the “Big Magic,” that Elizabeth Gilbert writes about in her guide to living a creative life? I am working to write my own permission slip; to write, to explore, to live a creative life and to become the wild woman I’ve always longed to be. To write and to share even when I’m certain the writing is not worth sharing. To live and to be and to stop waiting for someone to give me permission. I am learning to give myself permission.

Now I do realize that my solo endeavors concern some so to that end I am exploring and investing in ways to be safe, but still take chances. Before leaving for Colorado I did invest in a Garmin inReach Mini, a spot tracker that connects to the Iridium Satellite network and allows me to send out a link so people can track me and I can also reach the GEOS International Emergency Response Coordination Center if I should ever find myself needing help and not have cell phone service. I am also thinking about joining some groups for women that love to hike, camp and explore. I do take my personal safety seriously and try to reduce risks when possible.

When I started out on this trip I wasn’t really sure I why I was going and I was more than a bit hesitant when I pulled Oliver, my trusty Subaru out of my Mother’s driveway and pointed her West. I wasn’t certain why I felt the pull of the mountains this year and I was very unclear about what I hope to learn and discover on the extended break from work and real life in Dallas, TX. It’s almost sad to be here in South Fork in the empty cabin that was always filled with life when my Grandparents lived here during the summers. But I’m glad I’m here, I hope that someday I can make more than just a yearly weeklong visit, that I can share this special place with my nieces and nephew and maybe one day their children and I am holding out serious hope for a collective family vacation. The Mountains are calling and I must go and I am learning to give myself permission to go, to live, to explore to create.

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Going Back, but Moving Forward.

Its hard to believe, but it has been a year since I traveled to Oregon to participate in a bucket list event, the Wilder Running and Writing Retreat organized by Lauren Fleshman. I’ve never really written about the experience, there were lots of demons that surfaced that I’ve been slowly working through. The experience is also slightly tainted by the prolonged illness that my poor Eddie Fox suffered and to be honest I still have some guilt for leaving him as often as I did last summer. But the experience was one of transformation and growth and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am grateful for my time in the Oregon wilderness.

This weekend some of my fellow Wilder Women have gathered at the Caldera Arts Center to reunite and light the Wilder fire again. In their honor I thought I’d share some thoughts on the experience and a new opportunity that has come to me. Sending love and peace to the women doing the work this weekend. Know that I am with you in spirit.

Want to go deeper? That was the question on the website in front of me. Did I want to go deeper? When the first email came out from the woman I basically idolize (Lauren Fleshman) asking if there was interest in a Wilder Alum Workshop, I thought to myself No!  I wasn’t ready to go deeper, I wasn’t ready to be just one of a very small group of women coming back to dive in deeper with the Wilder Writing and Running experience. I didn’t think I had fully processed my first Wilder experience from last year. So why had I clicked on the link for the application?  Why was I filling out the application and hitting send? I didn’t feel like I had progressed in my writing or running. If anything I felt like I had gone backwards in the months since journeying to Sisters, Oregon. I wasn’t certain I had worked through the self doubt and the feelings of being inadequate that I honestly battled during my first Wilder experience.  Last May I felt like a total dork trying to be cool around a pretty impressive group of women. I wasn’t certain I was worthy of a spot in a group of 10 women who were Wilder Alumni, what had I done with myself since leaving the Caldera Retreat Center in Oregon?

But here I was feeling the pull, wanting to go deeper, completing the application and hitting send hoping for another opportunity to really dive deeper.  A chance to grow and sit, with confidence at the knee of a teacher I truly admire. I think a part of me secretly hoped that I wouldn’t get selected, that the demand would be too great for the September session so it wouldn’t even matter; but here I am, the dates are booked on my work calendar, I’ve paid my registration fee and I’m already looking at flights.  I’ve also dusted off my copy of Writing Down the Bones and I am practicing, practicing both writing and running. Practicing some self love and self acceptance and working on owning my place in the circle of women that have shared this truly incredible experience. So in early September I’ll be headed back to Oregon, headed back to see what else I can unearth and to continue to develop 2 things that I love to do; run and write and to do both in a wild way.  

To my fellow Wilder women I thank you for sharing your time, your stories and love.  I thank you for continuing to inspire me and for giving me the strength to go back and to dive deeper. PC:@jesssbarnard

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