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Sometimes life lessons appear in the strangest places like in the bathroom of Castle Golf. I loved these rules. Number eight, ten, and twelve are my favorites. I would add rule number 15: Find things to be grateful for every day.

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I barely had a chance to form an opinion about my body before one was imposed on me. When you understand where your beliefs come from only then can you change them.

The Very Beginning

Fat! was bad. Very bad. This was the message I received before elementary school. There were several significant events from those early years that helped shape my view of my body and expectations of being female. After all, it really was okay for men to be overweight. They didn’t go on diets. It was the women who had to be slim. Men never complained about their bodies–only women did. But why? Was it because they felt judged by men?

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I sat on the couch with two pups at my feet. They needed to go on a long walk after waiting all day for me to return from teaching. There were dishes in the sink, laundry, emails to answer, words to write for this blog and for my new novel. I felt like I had just run a marathon and could sleep until morning. I’ve always said there’s no tired like teaching tired. But my pups wanted two things, to be with me and to walk. I laughed to myself thinking they were my priority–one of the vocabulary words I had explained to the 6th graders. One side effect from teaching is that even after leaving the classroom the students voices and lessons from the day swirl in my mind until I drift off to sleep.

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Ever since I was little, I felt it. There was an inner feeling of knowing what path to choose even when it was the most difficult. I remember trying to explain it to someone as a young girl. I told them that we always know what is right, the answer is within us. I don’t remember how old I was.

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I get to meet a lot of new people every day. I’m either surrounded by teens when I substitute teach, or adults as I strike up conversations with people at the gym, dog park, or grocery store. Most of the topics include the weather, running, dogs, and occasionally writing. Lately, people have been telling me their stories. Since I prefer listening to talking, I enjoy hearing about their lives.

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“The true measure of courage is not whether you reach your goal–it’s whether you decide to get back on your feet no matter how many times you’ve failed.” Oprah Winfrey

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