Natural Born Movers® Mother’s Day Edition

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mom on bike

Lois on the road

Out shopping for a Mother’s Day card this week, I realized that I found the selection somewhat disappointing.  All seemed to be along the lines of the Martyrdom of Motherhood variety — you know the themes, thanks for giving everything to us and nothing to yourself, pastels and flowers, etc.  I was looking for one more like, “Hey Mom, I think it’s neat you’re a bad ass“.  Of course my mom did all the traditional things you associate with motherhood for us. We don’t call her the MacGyver of Motherhood for nothing– she can cook, knit, build, sew, repair, finagle or haggle for anything you need. She is not, however, a booboo kisser (thanks Dad for picking up the slack in that area). Her many talents would require an additional post.

Here at Move It Media, we celebrate Natural Born Movers®, so I thought it would be a good time to check in with Mom about her athletic endeavors.  I had to schedule an interview as she has a full day of college courses on the day I tried to connect.  She typically takes a few courses each semester and loves to joke that her GPA is so high because she was “sleeping with the Dean” (that’s my Dad by the way, now retired–and he will be mortified that I wrote that, but it’s Mother’s Day, not Father’s Day, and she will love it).

What’s your course load this semester?:

6 credits — Yoga, Pilates, Water exercise, and Ceramics.  (editor’s note:  what are you doing talking to me–isn’t this finals week?  Get studying!)

H and Gma bike ride

Heading out with Grandson to ride the length of the Erie Canal #Grandparentlikeaboss

Tell us about your upcoming cycling trip:

This summer I’ll be riding a self-contained bicycle trip with my sister, Janie.  We’ll be some senior ladies out on the road.  We plan to leave from Lansing then head west to Ludington.  We’ll take the ferry across Lake Michigan, turn north and head up through Wisconsin. Head east across the UP, cross the Mackinac Bridge and head back down the state to Lansing–about 1500 miles.  We are planning to travel for 5 weeks, camping along the way. We could do it in a much shorter time, but there are several breweries we want to hit.  Who knows, we may never get out of Michigan.

Lois & Janie High Ropes

Lois & Janie on High Ropes course

Since this is a Mother’s Day post, what do you think your mom would think of that?:

I think she would be excited about it.  She wouldn’t do something like that, but she’d support us doing it.  She would be absolutely excited to see us doing it together.  She wanted to live long enough to see us getting along, which she did.

What’s your favorite cycling trip you’ve done?:

My favorite was from Baytown, TX to Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.  Turned out to be 2400 miles.  Along the way we saw great stuff Natchez Trace Mississippi — loved the great roads and history in that area.  We rode to Owosso, MI for my 50th high school class reunion along the way. Then we hooked up with the DALMAC ride to get from Lansing to Sault Ste. Marie.  I’d been planning to do a cross country ride from East to West (of the U.S) and it got cancelled, so we made this one up.  (editor’s note:  read about that trip here).

mom and dad bridge

 

What made you get into cycling:

I’ve always had a bicycle.  One time your Dad thought that I should be riding and he bought me a bike and we just did casual rides.  I was out riding my bike and I was challenged by Dr. Tom Seabourne at Northeast Texas College to do the Texas Chain Ring Challenge.  That was my first organized ride.  I started tour cycling at age 53.  I went on the ride and loved it.  I’m 73 now.  I plan to ride as long as I can.

Does it bother you that one of your sons-in-law (the Swede, not the Aussie) calls you the L Train?:

Haha, no.  Only the people that care about you give you nicknames.  I don’t like it when he calls me LoLo, but it’s still polite, just don’t care for it.

Peter & the L Train

The Swede and the L Train

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.  It’s neat that you’re a bad ass.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fairgard gets fancy

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Fairgard

Move it Media lives on the third floor of Fairgard.  With a more direct shot, you’d probably see me through the top window at my stand up desk.

Our Viking-occupied, German beer hall lovingly known as Fairgard (aka our home) is getting ready for a big internal overhaul.  Walls are coming down, the long-ago demoed kitchen will be re-built, basement supported, flooring going in, scary downstairs bathroom spruced up, and wiring and plumbing updated.

We’re on a multi-year plan preparing him for his Centennial in 2019.  (Note: since it’s basically a fraternity house, it’s a “he”).  This year-long celebration will correspond with our son’s graduation from Lansing Eastern in 2020 and the required graduation open house blowout (a #puremichigan phenomenon that people actually schedule major home improvement projects to accomodate).

The Crawford Jones Board of Directors has had the required number of fights and stalling tactic impasses over design, builder, budget, funding strategies–we’ve been through this before on a few other homes and have come to trust this infuriating process…

We’ve selected RJ Kloak, LLC as our builder.  We interviewed many as we continued to refine our ideas.  I found this builder on Thumbtack  after an exhausting number of meetings with referrals from neighbors and individuals didn’t warrant results.  We went with Ryan and his company because he’s clearly a craftsman.  He’s into deconstruction and custom work.  His crew is full of his childhood buddies and he seems to get what we’re going for.  We are contract signed, deposits in, ready to go sometime this week.IMG_3123

My handiwork is displayed in the photos above — I know how to swing a sledgehammer.  When you expose the knob and tube wiring and the sagging floor is shaking every time your smallish son dunks on his Nerf hoop a floor up, it’s time to find some experts!

In the old saying “you can pick two of Quality, Cost, and Speed”, we always choose speed to eliminate.  (Or the less eloquent version of “you can pick two: cheap, fast, or good”).

We’re excited to get started and in a month we look forward to getting back to what we do best, aggressive games of modified wall ball and the raging house party.  Dance floor dimensions have been expanded and a sweet karaoke system has been added to our impressive disco light/smoke machine setup in our party arsenal.  Fairgard will be ready to entertain for his next hundred years.

 

 

 

Hey Honey this is what I do: Citizen-Centered Health Promotion

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Live Well Lauderhill

“Going Places” Photo Credit: Kevon Bachelor

My primary audience for this post is my husband (17 years next month!) because he unfortunately has to answer this question for others all the time, “what does your wife do, again?”.  He’s actually not convinced I work at all because I just hang out with people I really enjoy, learn about their hopes, dreams & challenges, help them tell stories about their community’s goals, go on a bunch of walking tours, learn, learn, learn, present ideas to policy makers, host a community dance party or two, present about it at some conference, write a few grants, then take a nap.  It’s all pretty messy, super fun, and keeps the lights on around here.

So honey, as I start up another project in Broward County, FL with amazing colleagues at the Urban Health Solutions/Urban Health Partnership, Broward Regional Health Planning Council, Healthy Community Zone project thought I’d write about why someone hires me and what we’re trying to accomplish together.

I work with leaders to build healthy communities through policy, system, and environmental change. (the previous sentence is an example of “grant vomit”).  I like to explain environment as a fast running river.  If you jump into the fast running river you can swim against the current and go upstream.  It will be difficult and you will have to be committed and have the skills and strength to persevere.  It’s not impossible, but very tough.

Most people won’t swim against the river, or they will for only a short time.  This is the experience of an individual living in a community.  If their community supports health it may have safe places to walk or bike to errands, work, and school.  It may have anti-tobacco policies in place.  It may have access to affordable healthy foods and provide healthy meals at schools. It may have limited advertising for unhealthy products.  Individuals can still choose sedentary behavior, unhealthy foods, tobacco usage, and other negative health behaviors, but they will be less convenient than the healthy choice.

Changing the direction of that fast moving river to support healthy behaviors is what policy, system, and environmental change is all about.  We say, our goal is to make the healthy choice the easy and affordable choice.  Notice, it’s not about taking away choices.  It’s changing the current so that as we go with the flow we are moving towards healthier behaviors and communities.  It’s what the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation calls building a Culture of Health.

I don’t make this stuff up.  Take a look at Citizen-Centered Health Promotion:  Building Collaborations to Facilitate Healthy Living published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine and available on the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation website.  Citizen-centered means looking at how an individual’s choices are impacted by all of the environments she/he interacts with.  Our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, schools, and larger communities all impact what choices individuals have.  People exist in environments. Communities across the country are recognizing that they have to build a network of these environments to support individual health.

That’s what I do, help people build that network.  Here’s my job description below, found on page S44 of the article:

 A third party is often necessary to convene potential partners, solve logistic challenges, and pool resources to facilitate collaboration. For the majority of success stories involving effective community partnerships, third parties supported by philanthropies or public funding—a community organization or research institution—were key to “connecting the dots.” To make such collaborations scalable and sustainable over time in ordinary settings, where grant support and research investigators are lacking, an infrastructure for third-party support must be available to help communities undertake citizen-centered redesign. Each community must have access to an entity for on-the-ground assistance in building partnerships and designing solutions to help citizens sustain healthy behaviors.”

I build the coalition and help the coalition build the plan.  I basically do three things for communities in this role:

Translation–I am a generalist and I know enough about most sectors that impact the individual to translate among different groups (schools, transportation, housing, business/private sector, higher education, community based organizations, food systems, public health, etc.)  In the article above it’s called “connecting the dots“.

Boil-Down–I believe in using simple language and strive for clarity.  I muddle through “grant-vomit”, business jargon, academic yammering and all other forms of scrambled communication.  I refuse to use the word “stakeholders” (which is just a personal preference, I’m sure you’ve got your pet peeves in this category as well.)  Communities just want to be happier and healthier.  It’s complicated but requires simplicity.

Draw the Picture–Everything is about painting the picture.  We need to see it, experience it, touch it, taste it, smell it, and process it.  Yes, we need the 20 (or 200!) page document that backs up our work, but we need a picture of where we’re going and what it will look like.  That comes from pulling people together, learning, and drawing the picture…and that is what I do.

Move It Media Logo

 

Why I still coach

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Focusing like a laser and getting to your most important work requires a constant re-balancing of priorities and reassessment of skills, opportunities, and strategies.  It’s a continual effort to put your best work forward and peel back the effort in those areas that no longer serve you.  It’s taking risks, evaluating opportunities not just for today, but for the future.  It’s the privilege of getting to be selective and the sense that time is running short to be what you’re made to be.  It’s the recognition that the number of things you want to do and should do add up to more time and certainly more energy than actually exists.  It’s the light bulb that finally goes off that real contribution doesn’t come from cramming ever more into a week/day/year, but rather in being ruthless in deciding what gets your focus and attention.

Which brings me to this topic—why do I still coach gymnastics?  Why do I still allow the time and energy necessary at this time in my career to do something that supposedly I was qualified to do when I was 15 years old (I’m sure video footage of that teaching would surely prove otherwise).   Why do I put on the staff shirt and yoga pants and hang out alongside college kids and teach the same handful of skills I’ve been teaching for 25 years?  I am struggling with this—if I’m taking things off my plate, why does this remain?  Why do I want to add more of it?  Why am I writing this now rather than doing other work—who knows?  Here’s what I do know:

I coach because it’s the most complicated, intense work I’ve ever done.  It takes more thought, preparation, and expertise in multiple disciplines than any other work I do –and I work with some heavy hitting projects and people.  The stakes are high—these are young children, older children, and teenagers – what you say and do can stay with them for a lifetime and shape who they become as adults, parents, and leaders.

I coach because I’ve seen it done so poorly by others it makes me cry and seen it done so brilliantly it also makes me cry.  Because I’ve seen coaches like John Good build some of the best men I’ve ever known.

I coach because it’s a facet of my work where I simultaneously feel mastery and endless challenge.

I coach because it taught me how to parent and vice versa.  I’ve had parent/coach mentors like Lynne Horn say “parents are pretty easy, if we give you our kid for four hours, just come off the floor and tell us something about their practice”.  Simple, brilliant, endlessly helpful.  Or when trying to understand why a parent is so unbelievably appreciative of your efforts and generous with you like Nancy & Kevin Moody who told me “anyone who does right by your child and helps you get through the teenage years is someone you’ll do anything for”.  I didn’t get it then, now I do, because it’s any port in the storm time for us and we’re looking to constantly build our team.  Thank goodness and I see you Coach David, Coach Jay, Coach Tyler, Coach Chris, Coach Jones, Cody, Coach Block and so many more – we can’t do it without you.

I coach because I’ve had the privilege of studying at institutions like the University of North Texas, the George Washington University, and Michigan State University (2x grad school dropout), and I’ve never learned as much as when I was trying to figure out the right mix of psychology, physics, and communication techniques that were going to get an athlete over a skill development hump or a terrifying mental block.

I coach because in a deal with my husband I necessarily gave it up for 5 years as my “career” took off and I had to prioritize my time expenditures.  I did the next best thing and coached the best I could those professionals who were a couple rungs below me on the corporate ladder but way ahead of me in passion, skills, and aptitude.  I hope I taught them something that mattered – they certainly did teach me.

I coach because many of the north stars in my life yell at me when I’m not teaching enough, like Lesley Kovacs who just recently said my time spent in administration is a “soul—crushing waste of my life, and I better get back to teaching before I rot” (which I may be paraphrasing a bit, but I got her message).

I’ve had the honor of coaching/judging/choreographing at really high levels in the sport.  I’ve been a snob not wanting to waste what I thought then was my vast coaching talent on non-serious athletes.  I’ve since learned that I love working with anyone who has a body and would like to understand how to make it work in a multi-planar fashion.  Increasing someone’s movement vocabulary (one of my favorite phrases) is just about the coolest thing ever.

I coach athletes with cognitive impairment because helping someone figure out how to find the vertical axis on a forward roll and support a sometimes uncooperative body with two arms just might translate into the confidence needed to navigate an unforgiving world.

Most importantly I coach because it’s the only place I’ve never received feedback that I should “work on sitting still & talking in a lower voice” — some variation of which I’ve received on every report card and performance review  my entire life, whether in preschool or as a VP.

I coach because it’s how I learn.

Move It Media just distributed the Gabustle Soundtrack with Narration through TuneCore – available soon in stores!

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Move It Media is excited to distribute the soundtrack and book narration of Gabustle Make My Body Hustle and Other Silly Ways to Move Anywhere through TuneCore.  Buy the music from composer Dan Combs and the narration of Missy Lilje and have a dance party with your favorite Natural Born Mover™ today!!

I just distributed my music through TuneCore – available soon in stores!.

Gabustle Moves closer to full production

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Move It Media is very excited about the progress of the Gabustle project.  Follow the link to see a recent performance

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9rliv0ka20&sns=em

Unless you’re roughly between the ages of 18 months and 5 years old, this production will make no sense to you.  However, to the target demographic it’s pure gold–watch all the way to the end to see the consumer feedback.  We at Move It Media love the late 70s Sesame Street vibe and think we definitely nailed it with this one.

Have a little one at your house?  I’d love their feedback–send me a picture, video, email, blog post, or tweet and let me know your thoughts at #gabustle

 

“Gabustle” Photo Shoot

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Move It Media productions and Happendance have completed choreography for “Gabustle, Make My Body Hustle: and Other Silly Ways to Move Anywhere” a work created for Happendance To Go.  The book version will be available for sale at the Happendance concert January 24-26.  Purchase a copy and have your favorite Happendance performers sign it for your young movers!!  Following the concert, copies will be available for purchase on Amazon.com.  Special thanks to our favorite dance photographer David Grist!

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