The grateful 5 (5 things I’m grateful for)

Grateful

“A grateful heart is a magnet for miracles”

(Pinterest)

Dictionary.com defines grateful as feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful.

Pretty simple concept and one to dig into a bit more.  I do a lot of reading and came across a blog article titled the Top 5 Things I am Grateful For.  The article and title are straight forward so I decided to try my writing chops to explore this from my perspective.

Family

Spend any amount of time with me and I will tell you about my family.  My family on my mom’s side consists of 5 uncles and 4 aunts.  The last time we counted I had 32 first cousins and 69 second cousins.  I know that last number has gone up, but we have not counted them in a long time.

This large extended family unit allowed me to grow up in an environment where most of my early friends were family members.   We did not add nonfamily friends until we started school because there were enough of us around to field our own teams in most sports.

I am grateful for having so many family members who go out of their way to look out for each other.  Seems like a simple thing but we spent most Thanksgivings with this large unit and enjoyed our time together.  COVID-19 put a halt on our large family get togethers last year but hopefully we can find a way to get the crew together this year—safely!

Friends

My Walk into the Future journey has allowed me to make some truly great friends.  Please note, I do not let a lot of people into my inner circle, so my friends are special people to me.  I have friends who are not cousins and I have known them my entire life.  We stay connected and get back together whenever possible and continue to grow our friendship.

I have friends I met while in the Air Force and we have become our own family unit.  I look forward to getting together and catching up whenever possible.  COVID-19 has put a halt to our running tourist trips, but I am sure we will get back on track in the future.  New Orleans is calling!

I met my best friend in the gym one morning as she bullied me to help her with the weights she was lifting—true story! 😊  Seriously, a simple gym conversation launched a great friendship, and we chat and catch up on life as much as possible.  See you on Park Avenue!

My tree branches are all friends I look forward to catching up with.  Could be a simple email, text, or phone call but love hearing how well my folks are doing in this world.  I enjoy seeing them exploring life via Instagram stories and pictures they share.  I live through them daily and enjoy seeing the growth of my tree. WE ARE!  Go Bucks! Go Noles! Go Gators!

Running

I found running later in life but cannot imagine a world without me putting in my miles.  The concept of running a half marathon was foreign to me in 2013 but now I run 6 to 8 half marathons yearly (pre-COVID).  I had no intention to run another half marathon after my first attempt because it took me three full weeks to recover.  Of course, I had no idea how to train, hydrate or recover properly—lessons learned the hard way! LOL.

My stated goal for 2022 is to explore my first full marathon.  I am hoping COVID does not come back like 2020 and eliminates all future running events.  I am always looking for motivation when I run so training for a full marathon should keep me putting in the miles for years to come.  Trying to convince several friends to come race with me. Let’s go Laurens! 😊

“Running helps me maintain my ‘never killed anyone’ streak”.

(Pinterest)

Health

Happy to report I can eat and drink whatever I want.  My running and weight training programs help with this, but I am blessed with good health.  Running has not caused undue aches or pains and helps me maintain a healthy weight without counting calories.  My weight training provides strong muscle structure to keep me moving forward.  My annual physicals produce good numbers, and the doctor does not have to get onto me to eliminate anything from my diet.  Grateful to continue to age well! 😊

My Blog

Started the Walk into the Future blog without a clear understanding how it would impact me.  I thought I would just write a few things down and see if anyone wanted to read my words.  Turns out the blog has become an extension of me and gives me a platform to share thoughts, ideas, and adventures.  My writing process has slowed down as my work obligations expand but I am still able to keep 4 to 5 weeks of blog articles in my production library.  I would like to get back up to 8 to 10 weeks of articles in reserve in case I need to revise or update them before publishing.  Not sure how long I will continue to publish the blog but still have a ton of material to explore so hope you stay with me on this journey! 😊

Bonus:  My readers

Grateful for everyone who takes the time to read my blog.  Your positive affirmations always put a smile on my face and inspire me to work to produce better content weekly.  Thank you for following the Walk into the Future blog!  Well done!

What are YOU grateful for?  I welcome your thoughts!

“The struggles ends when the gratitude begins”.

(Neale Donald Walsh)

The Wonder Years

art artistic blank page book
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My how the time flies

When you look back and wonder

How did we get here?

When did that happen?

The promise that was promised

Had diminished over time

And left the wonder of why

And can the path be adjusted

To fulfill the destiny of the wonder

That was first wondered by me

Winter Park, Florida (Park Avenue Adventures)

“To travel is to live”.

(Hans Christian Andersen)

Happy to report the Walk into the Future adventures continue.  I am excited to get back to regular excursions again with more and more people being vaccinated.  COVID-19 put a halt to most outings, but I am getting comfortable being out and about again.

Decided to explore a familiar area recently and ventured back over to Winter Park, Florida to spend a day on Park AvenuePark Avenue has an eclectic feel and provides multiple places to shop, dine and entertain yourself without having to get in and out of your car.

My day started with a trip to my favorite run shop, Track Shack.  I make a point to visit Track Shack whenever I’m in the area because the staff makes me feel at home.  They also update their running gear selections, and I am always looking for new training ideas and gear.  I wear Track Shack gear during my races and wanted to see if they had new color schemes to add to my wardrobe.  I did not buy new gear on this trip but picked up some CBD gel caps. 

I added CBD to my training program last year to help with soreness and inflammation from running.  My run friends recommended CBD and I finally decided to add to my program to keep me running.  CBD has allowed me to continue to train hard and not miss sessions due to soreness—it also helps me relax and sleep better.  Give it a try!

Made my way over to Park Avenue after leaving Track Shack.  The Winter Park Farmer’s Market is a huge Saturday attraction, and I made a stop to see what the vendors had for sell.  The kettle corn vendor was the most popular vendor of the day—it is amazing to see folks buy the huge bags of kettle corn.  I like kettle corn but could not make myself buy the supersized bags the vendor had. 

There was a vendor at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market selling jerky—this is not a revelation but was surprised with the selection available.  Most people know about beef, turkey, and alligator jerky.  The surprise for me was this vendor had kangaroo jerky.  I had no idea people ate kangaroo and did not expect it as a jerky selection.  I am not a huge jerky fan but wondered all day why anyone would eat kangaroo jerky—may have to try it next time I am at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market.

Took the short walk over to Park Avenue to explore the shops and dining options available.  Track Shack hosts multiple races in this area so I am familiar with Park Avenue—the races start and end in the heart of the entertainment district here.

Found a corner breakfast spot that I had never visited before.  The Croissant Gourmet Bakery has a great menu and provides the perfect spot to dine, and people watch at the same time.  This spot is right off Park Avenue but gets a lot of foot traffic.  Most people came in for baked goods, but several stayed for breakfast and the coffee.  The Croissant Gourmet Bakery layout reminds me of a New York style bakery—the staff was friendly and got people in and out.  I had a traditional breakfast (two eggs, potatoes, bacon, toast with coffee).  They had a fantastic raspberry jam I would recommend if you visit the Croissant Gourmet Bakery—well worth the trip.  I plan to visit this spot again when I am back in Winter Park.

One of my reasons to visit Park Avenue was to venture into the Wine Room again.  The Wine Room provides a unique experience where you can purchase a wine card and then explore wines from around the world.  Insert your wine card and then decide if you want a sip, half glass or full glass.  This is a great way to try multiple wines and not commit too much money if you decide you are not a fan.  I strategically visited the Croissant Gourmet Bakery first to ensure I ate something prior to exploring wine options. 😊

I am a novice wine drinker, so the Wine Room allows folks like me to try different wines without committing too much to the process.  I favor the sweeter wines but experiment with others by purchasing by the sip.  This process helps me determine if I like the wine and not waste time or money if I do not.  I tried multiple wines that caught my interest, and most were very good. 

I made my way back to the sweet Italian wine section and found one I really enjoyed.  Decided to go all in and purchased a full glass to enjoy.  The Wine Room is a great place to enjoy wine and get some people watching in.  There were several folks there who really knew wine and it was interesting listening to them describe the wines to each other. 

Will leverage their knowledge on my next visit to the Wine Room and explore additional wines—one sip at a time.

The most talked about wine during my visit was the Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was very good, and I will try it again when I am back in the Wine Room: 

https://www.abcfws.com/caymus-cabernet-sauvignon/234305

Left the Wine Room and got some window-shopping in.  There were a lot of people out for the afternoon, and everyone had smiles.  This was a fantastic way to spend the day and I enjoyed every minute of my time on Park Avenue.  Look forward to additional adventures on Park Avenue—this may turn into a monthly getaway for me. 😊

Where have you wanted to visit?  Give Park Avenue a try if you are in the Orlando area—highly recommended.

Irie!

https://orlandodatenightguide.com/2016/09/guide-perfect-afternoon-park-avenue-winter-park/

Waxing Poetic!

Jetty

Really?

Black Lives Matter you say

Is that real or just a cliché?

Cannot believe we have to scream this everyday

Just to be heard, seen, and protected

From the brutal society trying to stamp us out

The daily body counts continue to rise

With no end in sight, we fall

Does not matter if it is a southern thing

Northern thing or western thing

Black lives continue to be extinguished

With no end in sight

So, I ask again, do Black Lives Matter?

When will you step up to make this true?

Simply saying it with no action makes it a hollow cliché

Something woke to say?

Time for action, some type of display

Marching is fine but there cannot be additional delay

Let us put more meaning to Black Lives Matter

Do it today!

Make your bed!

Books

“Good order is the foundation of all things”.

(Edmund Burke)

My Walk into the Future allows me to pick and choose my adventures and some take me to amazing places.  Others find me rooted at home but still bring a level of joy and satisfaction.

I am an avid reader and love to find new books to help me as a lifelong learner.  My latest find was the book by retired Admiral William H. McRaven titled Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe The World.  

The title is simple enough and gives the reader an understanding of what the Admiral will cover in this book.

I love the fact the book is broken up into short chapters that are easy to follow and integrate into daily life for readers.  Admiral McRaven uses things from his life to help highlight the importance of how little things add up to make life move forward.

The book starts with the simple premise of why making your bed daily sets the tone for the day.  I understood this fact when I read the book but did not fully gain knowledge until I shared the book with a coworker who reads more books than I do.  My coworker assumes since I am retired Air Force the concept of making your bed was instilled in me during my time in the Air Force.  He was surprised when I told him I rarely make my bed because I did not see the importance of the act.  I am not a slob but making my bed happens when it happens—I did not go out of my way to make the bed before heading to work.

My coworker was shocked with my admission. I can be set in my ways but went back and read the chapter on making your bed to figure out what I missed.

I started making my bed DAILY after reading again to see if this simple act made a difference in my day.  The verdict is in—yes, it does!

This simple act appears to be a springboard for a productive day for me. 

The flow I have been able to display at work came once I made the decision to start my day with a simple act of organization.  Taking the time to make my bed and organize before leaving the house for work or my runs puts me in a better mindset for the day.  I arrive at work with a mindset to organize and I can transition quicker once I make it to my desk.  This may all be a coincidence but the flow, production, and ability to get more accomplished came once I decided to make my bed.

This is a recent phenomenon for me but exciting at the same time.  The ability to make a difference daily is something I take pride in.  Making my bed appears to heighten my ability to get this done.

Let’s be clear on this!  I fully understand making the bed has not given me a new superpower, but it provides me an opportunity to cross off a daily task early in the day.  I view making my bed as the first win of the day and gets me ready to win throughout the day.  I love crossing things off my to-do lists and I can get this started before I leave the house. 

Therefore, making your bed is an important step for the day!  It sets the tone and establishes a foundation for success—give it a try and let’s see what making your bed can do for you!

What are your thoughts on the importance of making your bed?  How does it set the tone for the day?

“For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned”.

(Benjamin Franklin)

Cross Seminole Trail run

Seminole Cross Trail

“Running:  my sport is your sport’s punishment”.

(Funny running quotes)

Took me a little time to fully understand what being a runner truly means.  I started getting serious about running when I moved to Oviedo, Florida from Bonaire, Georgia. 

I ran in Georgia because I was still in the Air Force and needed to maintain my cardio fitness to ensure I completed our annual fitness test.  I was always in shape but focused on football, basketball and weightlifting while in the Air Force.  I signed up for an occasional 5k but never really trained for them—just showed up and ran.  I also had NO idea how important the correct shoes can be in this sport.

Now, back to the quote above.  I played football, basketball, and baseball back in the high school days.  I transitioned to flag football, basketball, softball and weightlifting during my time in the Air Force.  Coaches in both worlds routinely assigned RUNNING as a motivational tactic or punishment depending on how they felt.  A missed assignment in football was punished by running a lap or two around the track.  A missed free throw in basketball was punished by unlimited ‘down and backs’ on the basketball court.  An error in baseball or softball got a lap around the field to regain your focus.  So, as you can see, the quote above rings true in more ways than one. 😊

Fast forward to today and punishment from my younger days is something I routinely leave my house to accomplish, for fun! The therapeutic benefits have been amazing also.

Running has taken on a large part of my Walk into the Future, and I do not see it diminishing anytime soon.  I got into running later in life, so I am blessed to not have run related injuries that limit my ability to get my miles in.  I also know the importance of nutrition and stretching so make sure I take care of my body before, during and after my runs.

Another fun fact about my running program is I bring my running gear whenever I travel in case I can sneak a run in. Sometimes I never get a chance to break out my gear but want to be ready.

My work with the Central Florida Employment Council (CFEC) back in May brought me back to the Orlando area and the large trail systems available there.  My event with CFEC was on a Friday afternoon so I decided to hang out in Oviedo after the event so I could get up on Saturday morning and run the Seminole Cross Trail while in the area.  Yes, you read that right—Inspiration Man made a point to get a run in while in town making a difference. 

I love the Seminole Cross Trail because it has visible mile markers and most of the trail is shaded.  I made sure I got out early because I wanted to beat the Central Florida heat and still have time to enjoy time in Oviedo.

There was a lot of activity on the trail with bikers, walkers and runners sharing the trail.  I made a point to wave and say hello to everyone I saw on the trail.  My Fort Pierce runs do not provide many opportunities to see many folks during my runs, so it was great seeing others out enjoying the morning on the trail. 

A first for me was seeing someone riding a unicycle on the trail.  Guess I only thought people rode unicycles as part of a circus act but this guy rode by me at a good pace.  I was impressed with the ability to balance and ride a unicycle while avoiding people on a busy trail.  Started to wonder if I could ride one of those things.  Running provides time to think about stuff. 😊

I was able to complete a quick 6 mile run on the trail before it got too hot—not bad considering I was there for an event.

I look forward to leveraging the Seminole Cross Trail more as I ramp up my half marathon training.  I plan to get back into racing later in the year and need to start getting long runs in again. 

My run gear bag remains packed, and I am ready to keep logging miles.  Each run brings me closer to 1,000 training miles for the year.

How many miles have you logged this year?  Let’s get busy!

“Running helps me maintain my ‘never killed anyone’ streak”.

(Pinterest)

Mastering College to Career—the mentor returns

Inspire

(Image by Bryan Stewart from Pixabay)

“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself”.

(Oprah Winfrey)

My Walk into the Future allows me to explore activities that I enjoy.  This concept provides me unlimited access to find new ways to make a difference in the world.

I understand most of my blog articles center on my adventures, travel and things that cross my mind (social justice, current events, etc.)  I continue to seek opportunities where I am making a difference and then decide how to highlight those efforts on the Walk into the Future blog.  Please note, I do not take notes when I am engaged in an activity—I try to sit down after the fact and then document my thoughts to share with my readers.

I received an email from Daniel Botero who is one of my tree branches.  Daniel’s name should be familiar with readers since he hosts the Mastering College to Career podcast, and I have been a featured guest 4 times so far.  Daniel has added an interactive mentoring component to his program and invites national guests to speak with his mentees. 

Mastering College to Career has grown quite a bit since I last sat down with Daniel in March 2020.  He continues to add value to college students across the country by helping them understand how to make themselves attractive to recruiters. 

The program helps colleges students LEARN how to build their online presence, resume, and mock interview skills.  Surprisingly, COVID-19 allowed Daniel to extend his program since he uses Zoom meetings to check-in with his students.

The email Daniel sent me was a request to join him via Zoom to speak with his students.  He did not provide a specific topic but wanted this to be a free form conversation so his students could ask me questions. My roles within Career Services at multiple schools was a targeted aspect of the conversation.  Daniel wanted me to share my knowledge on the correct way for colleges students to network with employers to ensure they are visible and viable in the recruiting process. 

I made sure to express being visible and viable is the key to transitioning from a college student to the world of employment.  This was a bit of a revelation for some of the students because they assume a degree means the transition will be easy.  This is a common thought of students everywhere I have been, but it is not true.  There are a lot of talented graduates at every college and university, the key to going to work is being visible and viable to recruiters.  Sounds simple but students without these key components are not on the radar of recruiters.  Daniel’s students were amazed by this statement and quickly wanted to know how they can gain an advantage.

I shared a quick story of a student I worked with at UCF.  This student had a GPA that was not high.  This student was not a U.S. citizen, so this eliminated them from certain organizations that refused to sponsor students for the hiring process.  This student was a native Spanish speaker so English was the second language.  These are three huge strikes within the on-campus recruiting process and the student in this example was not feeling good about the chances of gaining employment after graduation.  I met with this student, and he explained the things he PERCEIVED to hold him back from getting a job after graduation.  I developed the visible and viable concept while working with this student.

I told him he needed to identify organizations he wanted to work for and identify when they were on-campus.  He was advised to ensure that each time one of these organizations was on-campus, he would meet with them and expressed his interest working for them.  He was schooled on how to ensure the recruiters saw him as someone with potential and not worry about a low GPA.  Fast forward a bit and several organizations saw him as visible and viable and offered him interviews.  Not only interviews but this same student received 6 job offers prior to graduation—not bad for someone who supposedly had the deck stacked against him.

Can you guess the name of this student?  If you guess Daniel Botero, you would be right.  The person who learned how to be visible and viable is teaching his students the same skills he learned sitting in my office a decade ago—small world! 😊

The reaction of the students on the Zoom session was a renewed energy.  They needed to hear others have struggled with this process and overcame similar doubts.  Sharing my knowledge with the students provided a reminder they control their destiny—no one can stop a determined person.

I received about 20 LinkedIn requests from students in this session to connect for future advice on their journey.  I gladly accepted the requests and actively help these students anyway I can.  I found a higher level of satisfaction by volunteering my time to help these students. 

Inspiration Man continues to seek ways to make a difference in the world!

How do you reach back to help others?  Irie!

“We all need someone who inspires us to do better than we know how”.

(Anonymous)

Always remember Rosewood, Florida (Repost)

Justice

(Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.

(Nelson Mandela)

Happy to see the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement continue to draw attention to racial injustices.  The momentum gained after the George Floyd murder continues to lead people worldwide to protest injustices.  It feels real this time, but I thought that after Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, Eric Gardner, and Michael Brown.  Too many instances where black people are killed, and the justice system does not provide justice.  Not trying to be cute with words here but most of these examples were seen on video just like George Floyd but no justice for black victims could be found.

Would like to say these are just isolated examples and America really treats black people well.  Yep, we all know that would be a huge lie and I could not say that with a straight face anyway.  America’s majority has treated people of color horribly and then try to convince us everything is okay.  It is not and has not been okay for a long time.

Decided to go back in history and introduce Walk into the Future readers to Rosewood, Florida.  Most people have never heard about Rosewood or the horror the black families endured there.  It does not get the same press as the Black Wall Street massacre but is closer to home for me.

Sadly, I did not learn about Rosewood until the 1997 movie directed by John Singleton was released.  I grew up in Florida and never heard a word about the massacre in a history or civics class.  Rosewood is less than a two-hour drive from my hometown Jasper, Florida so it is equally shocking how close this type of mob/Klan activity was to my family.

I watched the movie and remember thinking this happened right down the street from my hometown.  How is it possible I did not know about this?  How could an entire town get wiped off the face of the earth and nobody said a word?  This appears to be the American way.  We condemn other countries and regimes for their atrocities and then hide ours from the public.

The movie stirred me to visit Rosewood in 1997 so I could see the place for myself.  Sadly, the only substantial thing to identify Rosewood is a placard to let you know you are in the place where the town of Rosewood use to be.  There are a few buildings there now but most of the things in the area are incorporated to Cedar Key, Florida.  Felt weird being at the site of a massacre of black people but believe this was an important lesson to never forget the past so these things do not repeat.  Like what is happening now; we cannot just let these injustices occur without responding in kind.

The BLM movement is here to stay, and we will need to remain vigilant to ensure human rights are respected for all.  Keep learning and growing tree branches—we need you to make this a better world!

Learn more about Rosewood, Florida here:  https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jan/03/rosewood-florida-massacre-racial-violence-reparations

“The scars and stains of racism are still deeply embedded in the American society”.

(John Lewis)

Repost from August 20, 2020.

Running into the Future—goal within reach

Run article

“Set goals and crush them”.

(www.tresfleeck.com)

Goals continue to be a big part of my Walk into the Future.  I sit down in January and write out my goals for the year.  I break these goals up into categories so I can track my completion progress.

My weekly physical fitness goals include weight training (2 days), run (3 days) and speed work on Wednesdays.  My overarching physical fitness goal is 1,000 training miles in 2021—this includes running and biking miles.

I set 1,000 training miles as a goal to push my training to a new level.  This mile marker also helps my motivation since there are not as many races to run in this COVID-19 world.  I am always looking for ways to maintain my running edge and adding more miles to my training program appears to be a good thing for me.

Happy to report I logged 615 miles so far in 2021.  I have not been consistent with my long runs but routinely get in three quality sessions each week. 

Tuesdays:  3 – 4 miles (after work)

Thursdays:  4 – 6 miles (after work)

Saturdays:  6 – 8 miles (morning runs)

My Tuesday and Thursday runs are done when I get off work, so I am not concerned about my run times during these sessions.  Working 9, 10, 11-hour days creates a mental drain, but I still make time to hit the road since this helps to recharge me physically and mentally.  Some days are a lot slower than others, but I smile because I am out doing something I love.  Never thought I would say that, but I would be lost without my running program—it just took me awhile to come to this conclusion.

My Saturday runs are not like my long training sessions when I had half marathons to train for.  I routinely crushed 10+ mile runs on Saturdays before my move to Fort Pierce but 8 is the longest distance I hit when running locally.  I have not found a route that allows me to enjoy the run while getting in longer distances.  I have searched multiple locations, but nothing is available like the St. Mark’s Trail or John Brown Park in Tallahassee:

The trail system in Tallahassee allowed me to push my mileage and extend my long runs up to 16 miles on multiple training sessions.  I plan to get back to the longer versions of my runs since I am looking forward to getting back to being a running tourist

I am scheduled to run the 2021 Rock n Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon in September.  I have never run this race or visited the city so looking forward to getting back to a starting line to test my conditioning against some world class athletes.  My goal for this race is to run another Personal Record (PR) and get under 2 hours for the distance.  I was on track to go under 2 hours before COVID-19 hit the world, but I am confident I am going to hit my goal.

My training for Virginia Beach will increase my speed towards the Orlando OUC Half Marathon in December.  This course is completely flat so it should provide a fast track to help me hit my goals.  This will truly springboard my runs into 2022 as I gear up for a full running season—8 or more half marathons.

A full marathon (26.2 miles) will make it on my goals list for 2022—there I said it so now it is out in the open.  Let’s see who is going to run it with me! Come on Laurens! 😊

What goals did you set for 2021?  How is your progress so far?

“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible”.

(Tony Robbins)

Reading into the Future

Books

“Fill your house with stacks of books, in all the crannies and nooks”.

(Dr. Seuss)

Who knew Dr. Seuss was so wise?

My love of reading started when I was young.  This may have come about because my hometown is so small and reading provided unlimited adventures for me.  I cannot remember a time when I did not have a book in my hand reading about things that enlightened my world.

My love for reading kept me in my junior high school library daily looking for new books.  Books about the old west were some of my favorites back then.  Learning about warriors Sitting Bull, Geronimo and Cochise was my go-to section within the library—I read other stuff, but the wide west was an era that fascinated me.  Mrs. Wiggins, the librarian, gave me unlimited access to books and allowed me to check out as many as I wanted.  I left school on Friday afternoons with a new stack of books and read them over the weekend so I could return on Monday and get more books.  Did I mentioned I love reading! 😊

High school saw me gravitate to a larger library with even more adventures waiting for me to discover.  I spent so much time in the library, Mrs. Chandler let me check out books to my fellow students.  I did not work there but she made me useful and took breaks while I ran the library for her.  I still see Mrs. Wiggins and Mrs. Chandler when I am back in Jasper—they still bust my chops for always being in their way.

Fast forward to 2021 and I still have a thing for reading—guess I am a lifelong learner. 

I write out my yearly goals each January and make sure I list a reading goal for the year.  My 2021 reading goal is to read 2 books each month.  That does not sound daunting, but my reading progress can be impacted by life (work, travel, etc.).  Work has proven to be the biggest obstacle to my reading program since we have so many new things going on at the same time.  Yes, that is an excuse so had to work my way out of my reading funk and get back on-track.

My saving grace is one of my coworkers.  He is an avid reader, and his yearly goal was a bit more aggressive than mine.  He would come into work on Mondays and tell me about the book(s) he read over the weekend.  I am a bit competitive so knew I had to get myself in gear or he was going to leave me in his dust (reading wise).  Life inspiration is funny—positive peer pressure got me back to reading.

Proud to say I have been in a groove and have started to crush my reading goals.  I joined Amazon Prime so I could get free shipping and 2-day delivery for my book purchases.  Sounds like a small thing but getting books delivered faster actually keeps me focused.  I routinely have two or three books on standby as I complete my current title.  Amazon provides book recommendations based on previous purchases, so I am always on the lookout for my next buy. 

I read four books in April and three in May—this put me back on pace to meet my yearly reading goal.  My increased reading volume puts me on pace to read 40+ books this year which would be the most ever for me in a year.  Funny thing is I am still super busy at work but made reading a priority and the pages are turning now. 

I am not limited to a single topic when selecting my books.  I do not read much fiction but try to find subjects I can learn from and apply in my daily interactions.  Some of my books are just entertainment and enjoy turning pages while sitting on the beach in between naps.

Here are a few of my latest reads:

  • The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*CK / Mark Manson
  • Ocean Prey / John Sanford
  • The Hero Code / Admiral William H. McRaven
  • Make Your Bed / Admiral William H. McRaven
  • Outliers / Malcolm Gladwell
  • Start with Why / Simon Sinek
  • Think Again / Adam Grant

Looking to get The Bomber’s Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell soon—the reviews are great and love his writing style.  I am sure there will be other titles added to my reading journey—just need to figure out what I want to read about and put my Amazon Prime membership to work.

What are your reading goals?  Who is your favorite author and why?

“There is more treasure in books than all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island”.

(Walt Disney)