Sunday, August 10, 2014


What is the Red Boot Coalition? A group of people committed to change. The mission is to unabashedly and courageously bring joy, compassion, love, vulnerability, unity, humility, reflection and strength to the United States political system. How do we do that? Good question. 
Strong, Joyful. Heart-driven. Authentic. Compassionate. Reflective. Genuine. Whole, Innovative. All words that describe Red Booters. Red Booters don't have to wear their boots to be noticed. It is a pervasive attitude. However, I hope to someday have my own pair of sassy red boots for these big feet of mine! 
The driving force of this movement is Molly Barker. She has decided to take the month of August and travel the country, meeting with small groups of people for discussion on this topic. 
When she said she was coming to Chicago, I jumped at the chance to be a apart of this discussion. I wanted not only to meet Molly but also to find out more about this movement. Another woman and myself volunteered to cohost the event and she volunteered her home. 
We both invited people, and were concerned not many would show. I mean, really, who wants to give up a Friday night to talk about politics? Molly assured us that no matter who/how many it would work out and we trusted her.
Once everyone arrived, we had a nice mix of ages (20 somethings to 50 somethings). We sat in a circle and Molly began. She told us how she came to the place she was at this moment and why this was important. And then she opened the floor to discussion with a question...what qualities do you want in your perfect leader? 
The answers varied and the conversation twisted and turned to how we each felt about different political topics from term limits to lobbyists to campaign spending. Never once was a voice raised. Never once was someone challenged. Never once was there a negative vibe in the room...and we all had different views. Molly continued to ask difficult questions and push us for deeper answers. One thing that we realized is that everyone wants to be accepted and to belong and sometimes people step into a 'box' to conform leaving their own values and beliefs behind.
About an hour into the conversation, a woman asked, "What's the take away?  I'm tired of going to meetings to discuss another meeting. What can I do? What is the action plan?" So we talked about that and what that would be, what that would look like for each of is really different for each of us.
As the evening came to a close, the circle broke apart  and we each sat in smaller groups, continuing our conversations as people dwindled and headed home.
My cohost and I cleaned up and said goodbye to everyone. Molly was last to leave with me and we each got into our cars. I drove home alone thinking of all that I had heard that night. That nagging question, "What's the takeaway?" rang in my ears. What was I going to do? How was I going to take what I had learned and apply it to my life? I went to bed with ...what can I my head.
The next morning I had my group long run. My group loves to eat so we usually talk food as the miles click away but that morning someone asked why I looked tired. I jumped on the opportunity to tell some of my group about my evening and about the Coalition. Then I started with the same question, "What qualities do you want in your perfect leader?" That lead to what is broken in the system and what frustrates us. I talked politics and listened to various group members for about 5 miles. It was an amazing discussion and we each learned more about one another. The conversation soon turned to food again but I was good with has to have something to look forward to ...eating...after a 10 mile run.
I realized that we all need to talk to one another. We need to really listen more and respect one another's viewpoints. We don't all have to agree but we need to listen and learn. My take away... to ask questions, to LISTEN to the answers and to learn from others.
Molly is a real visionary. If anyone can bring about change, it would be her. If she can get little girls to believe in themselves as the founder of Girls on the Run, she can get adults to believe in the promise of change in politics. Someone once told me that Molly is a lot like Peter Pan....she makes you believe. Well, I believe.
Red Boots, Strong Coffee, Change the World.
Forward is a pace. Peace.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


I never planned to be a runner. I never liked working out or running or anything fitness related. I liked my "watch what I eat" and "look at those crazy gym/running people" lifestyle. Running did not come naturally nor easy for me. Each run was a struggle. As I got more confident, I signed up for a few races in the fall and put running to rest for the winter. Come spring I saw an ad for a race called "WonderGirl". It sounded like something I could do and not feel intimidated plus it was on the lakefront. Perfect. So I signed up. When I got to the race I didn't realize that my life was to change that very day. I ran alone but felt more at home than ever. The "Girl Power" was amazing and the support phenomenal. I didn't realize then that this was what I had been looking for and longing for all my life.  I wanted to know more but was not ready to make the effort.
A year later, I ran the same race with my oldest 2 girls and while we were hot, miserable and chafed, we were so happy! I felt like I had never felt before...called to know more, do more and take action. I contacted GOTR that week and began the process of bringing the program to my school. It was an uphill battle as it was a new program to the area and was not in many schools. But I pushed and by the time my youngest daughter was in 3rd grade, we had a program and she would be in the first 'class'. My older girls came to each session to help and got the lessons by osmosis but not like my baby girl. She soaked up the GOTR messages like a sponge. She could not wait until the next session so that she could learn more.
Fast forward 7 years and we are still deeply involved in the program. By this time I had read all there was to know about the Foundress, Molly Barker. By some twist of fate Molly and I became friends on social media. I sent her a message thanking her for not only changing my life, but the lives of my daughters and other girls as well. We would comment periodically on each others posts and often say one day we would sit and have coffee together.  I longed for that day. I wanted to hug this woman and thank her in person for all she has done for me and others.
That day was yesterday. Molly came to town to discuss her newest venture, The Red Boot Coalition. Another woman and I were cohosting the event together in this woman's home. I was to arrive early to have dinner with my cohost and Molly.
As I got dressed, I was nervous as to what to wear and asked my kids. My 11 year old son said, "Mom!  Its Molly!  She doesn't care what wear!  She wants to see YOU!" I knew at that moment that my son also got the GOTR messages by osmosis as well!  So I got dressed and headed to dinner. I thought I would be nervous and my drive would be one filled with anxiety...but I was strangely calm.
Pink Boots inspired by
the Red Boots
I arrived and was informed that Molly was running a little late so my cohost and I  began eating and getting to know one another better. Soon Molly arrived and I was thrilled!  She entered the room and we hugged...but not one of those "Oh my GOD! I am so stoked to finally meet you!" hugs. It was the kind of hug you give your best old girlfriend that you haven't seen in a while...that calm, quiet, "I'm so happy to see you again" hug. It was funny, the moment I was in her presence, I felt like I was with my best all know that friend...the one that you could see every day and never get tired of that is the same one that you can go for weeks without talking to yet pick up right where you left off? That is just how I felt.  It was so familiar. We sat together with some others around a kitchen table and talked some more before other guests started arriving.
Once we moved to our meeting space, I sat next to her and listened as she spoke to the group. We all talked and shared ideas for a few hours. It was amazing. Afterwards,  we all chatted in small groups about different things but ya know that feeling when you are at a party with your bestie and you don't need to be want to spend time on others because just knowing that your bestis is there sharing space and breathing the same air is good enough for that moment? Yup...that was the feeling I had. I am not sure if Molly felt the same but that's ok. I was in a space of peaceful bliss.
Molly and Me!
It was finally time to call it a night and people started to leave. I walked to my car after saying goodbye and as I turned around, there was Molly. We stood together in the dark driveway for a moment. You all know those final moments at a party that you spend with your friend... the last words and final hug you want just shared between the 2 of you? She shared some words of wisdom and we hugged one last time. As she walked away, I wish I could have snapped a photo but the image is seared in my memory...she headed off in the dark to her car ringed in the light of the perfect full moon looking like an angel. My angel. My friend. The one that my life. Forward is a pace. Peace.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


A few years ago I started running. One of the first races I ran was a Girls on the Run race. From that moment I was hooked. I was determined to bring this program to my school. I worked hard to convince the powers that be that this was a worthwhile endeavor.
I began coaching when my youngest daughter was in 3rd grade. I could see the different it made to her at that young age and knew it had to continue.
To say that Girls on the Run has changed my life is an understatement. I have poured my heart and soul into this program. I am better every day because of this program.
This spring I was asked to help with a video to promote GOTR. To say that I was honored and humbled is an understatement!  Not only did they want me but they wanted my daughter...the one who started the ball rolling! To hear how the program has affected her brought me to tears. It is difficult to put into words the depth and breath of the changes this program has brought to the girls I have coached, my own daughters and to me. This directors of the video have found a way to take my heart and put it on film. I could not be more proud.
We held a screening last week for the girls and I wrote about seeing this for the first time with them here.

Please help every girl experience this lifechanging program and win a Garmin. Make a donation here.
All donations made to this personal page between August 1-29 will be entered into a drawing for a new Garmin10.