Category Archives: Inspiration

“When life hands you a lemon”.

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Photo on 8-24-15 at 11.36 AM #5

Life changes in an instant.  You could be having the most perfectly wonderful time of your life, and BOOM, your holding a lemon.

The common phrase about life turning “negative” is that “When life hands you lemons, you make LEMON AID!”, Although I appreciate this notion, I always found it to be someone wasteful.

So, Im handed this sour and yet beautiful lemon and Im just going to juice it and drink it? What about the seeds?

With every negative AND positive thing that happens in our life, there are ALWAYS root causal factors.  Once we explore those causal factors and potential outcomes of how to move onward we discover the “seeds”.  If you like lemonade, certainly go for the initial hydration and let that temporarily satiate the negative.  Once the drink is over, then what?  This is when we must look further and find out how to make this lemon that was handed to us cultivate an eternal change.  The truth is, we will always be handed lemons, thus we will always be handed seeds.

I am a big fan of all things related to trees.  I find most metaphors in life can somehow be connected to trees.  This may make me sound like somewhat of a free spirited hippy, rather I have always found my grounding within tree roots.  Some of my earliest memories are exploring roots, trees, and nature.   It takes time to sift through life to sort out the “WHY ME”, feelings and not just pass them off and move on to the next thing.  We live in a society that can far too easily just make the lemonade and move on.  I consider that just slapping on a band aid.

If we are willing to take the seeds of the negative source and truly investigate them, connect with them, understand them (to the best of our ability), then we can plant them into the soil of life and trust they will grow. 

We all know that even our best intentions for growth, do not always turn out as we plan. The “elements” of this earth can cause our seeds to rot, or grow without enough nutrients, or perhaps wilt due to lack of rain.  The elements ARE life.  When we hold the seeds and place them into the prepared earth, we are also accepting a responsibility to OWN them, care for them and make sure we can help them grow until they are strong enough to thrive on their own.  We must always take responsibility for the seeds that we are given.

I fully understand that most of the time, the lemon is thrown at us.  We are sometimes blind sighted by the lemon and never see it coming. Regardless, once its in our possession we have to learn to make a choice that will cultivate growth and understanding.

Now that I am going on 4 years post trauma, I look upon my spiritual lemon grove and smile that the trees are upright and they are finally beginning to bear flowers. I have taken on the eternal responsibility to CHOOSE to be the keeper of this grove and use these lemons to remain sustainable even once I have passed on.

Today, think about what your lemon in this life might be. Do you have a lemon? If you are “lemon-less” no worries, it will come.  As long as we live upon this earth we will encounter negativity that will stop us in our tracks.

Today, think about how you will open your hands and care for the seeds once you have drank your lemon aid and allowed it to settle within your being. Remember life is an immensely beautiful gift and often the gifts are contained deeper than what you first notice. Take time to make a grove.

                                                                     

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Can I hear a “PEACEJAM???”.. All the way from PORTLAND, MAINE!!!!

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Well, we made it. Today was supposed to be a 70% chance of heavy rain all day… We left the Chisolms home at about 8:30 this morning.  We were fed an incredible breakfast and given a wonderful send-off.  The first couple hours were in a light misty rain, which was not too bad.

Today is the Moving Planet- 350 awareness day. The day to try to move globally beyond our need for fossil fuels and to work towards a healthier planet.  It could not have been a more fitting day to ride well over a century towards our final destination on the 7th day.

By mid day, the rain had stopped and the sun began poking through the heavy clouds. Since we thought it was supposed to be a heavy downpour all day, we had ourselves set to be incredibly slow and thought we might even need to load the bikes at some point in order to make our trek to Coffee by Design on time. By the time we entered Maine, we were famished (Did I mention we have been eating like 300 pound MEN this entire week?) so we stopped to get “fueled up”, and made a telephone call. Much to our delight, the cafe thought the conversation would go better tomorrow, so we were able to take our time chowing and get back on our bikes.

This entire trip has been an absolute joy. I began my “journey” with PeaceJam over five years ago as an advisor.  My inspiration has always come from seeing youth reach their fullest potential, especially when they have substantial risk factors. When youth overcome those risk factors and become sparked with a passion.. the sky is the limit.  My job was to provide basic “tools” to youth, help them discover how they best want to use those tools, and then step back and watch the magic happen.   In my work with PeaceJam over the years I have seen that magic happen over, and over again.

This journey has been nothing short of an absolute joy, and also a bit exhausting. The words perseverance, inspiration, strength, and courage made up my internal vocabulary as my legs rotated again, and again, and again.

As I have been able to go into the communities where the youth are doing such incredible acts, I have been reminded repeatedly of how courageous they are.. This ride has been so symbolic on so many fronts.

My hope was to be able to ride these 600+ miles in order to raise signifagant funds for PeaceJam Northeast- since PJNE runs on an incredibly small shoe string budget and serves over a thousand kids a year.. although I still hope the funds will keep coming in (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), I have also been thankful for the opportunity to meet so many of the PeaceJam youth, and talk to countless people along the journey about the PeaceJam Global Call to Action.   When we learn about our inspirations, and can turn them into action.. it is truly a powerful act…. When we sit back and put our faith in youth, amazing things happen.. and that is what PeaceJam does.  As is any fundraiser, most people support an act in order to support an organization.. (I.e.. the MS Bike tour, the Susan Komen race, etc.).   Although our cycling is done for this trip, my hope is that many of you will feel inspired and be willing to still donate towards this ride.

Tonight, we shed some tears…. because this journey meant something signifigant for all of us.. For me, it was experiencing the joy of my work and trusting in God to give me the strength I need to not be defined by my illnesses, rather to embrace all of the incredible moments of perseverance.  For my sister-in-law, it was her first time visiting many of these areas, her first time doing a signifigant ride, and only her 5th month in to ever even ride a road bike.. For our sweet support person, Miss Jennifer Huebner- it was an opportunity to embrace her new life as a retired school teacher and celebrate her love for PeaceJam.

Thank you for celebrating with us, and joining us on this incredible journey of peace and perseverance.   Change starts with each and every one of us.. Change starts here.

With much love and sincerity-

Colleen

 

“Oh hills, you silly.. silly things…”

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So, we made it… After almost 90 miles of  intense hills cycling up from sea level in Providence into Amherst, our legs said “Hey ladies, time for a break”.

You know how a dog kicks like it is running in the midst of sleep?  Something tells me I might be “pedaling” in my sleep after this ride 🙂  We are a total of 165 miles in… with five more days to go.

The day was absolutely gorgeous. Blue skies, cool temps, and great conversations with new friends.  Along the journey, we have been asking new friends (sounds better than strangers) about what it is that inspires them… we have gotten some inspiring answers consisting of:

1. Man- kind inspires me

2. Children inspire me, because they love to learn and have no fear

3. A fighting spirit inspires me….

We met one man that waived us over and asked why we were cycling and how far we were traveling, after we shared about PeaceJam and our passion for this ride- he shared that his son in law cycled from Killington, VT to Provincetown to raise money for a local heart association in honor of his deceased wife who died at the age of 31 from a heart defect/disease (she was  only supposed to live until she was 6 years old)… as this man continued sharing, he told us that the woman who passed was his daughter and  how incredibly proud he was that he biked for her…

What an inspiration.

Tomorrow rain is anticipated.. as are the Berkshire mountains, so we will ride as long as we can while the roads are safe.

We are very excited to arrive in Pittsfield and see Lori (The Pittsfield PeaceJam advisor), and the amazing PeaceJammers!!!!

Tomorrow night we will be joining them and the community for a fantastic night of celebration.

If you visit Amherst, check out Laughing Dog Bike Shop.. these guys are the real deal.  A great big “THANK YOU” for taking our bikes tonight and giving them a tune up..

If you are reading this tonight, consider making a donation… we are riding for youth.. we are riding for change.. we are riding because we have been inspired by the positive changes this generation of youth are bringing to our world!!!

And so.. we ride on…

http://www.razoo.com/story/Cyclingforpeace