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Siobhan Kelleher Kukolic

Words to inspire the belief that we have all we need to be the change we wish to see.

Month: August 2016 (page 2 of 2)

It all starts with a dream

I have always loved watching the Olympics.  The stories of perseverance.  Dedication.  And following your dreams.

I remember Mary Lou Retton in 1984 being the first American to ever win a gold in gymnastics.

Canadian skater Joannie Rochette competing at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, only a few days after she lost her mother, and earning the bronze.

Jamaican Usain Bolt in Beijing in 2008 breaking records in the 100 and 200 metre events while winning gold.

I will never forget Kerri Strug in 1996.  The powerful little American gymnast who injured her ankle on her first vault and knew that she had to stick her second vault landing for her team to win the first US team gold in gymnastics.  She stuck her landing, tears streaming down her face, and was carried off the floor by her coach to claim the gold medal.

US swimmer Michael Phelps winning eight golds in 2008 in Beijing with a career of 22 Olympic medals over four Olympics.

I have watched the clips of Nadia Comaneci, the Romanian gymnast who won three golds in Montreal in 1976 and was the first female ever to get a perfect 10 in an Olympic gymnastics event.

And I remember reading about Jesse Owens winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, with Adolf Hitler watching.

But the story that really squeezes my heart is Derek Redmond, the British runner competing in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.  He tore his hamstring during the 400 metre semi-final and fell to the ground in pain.  But he got back up, and continued to limp forward.  Determined to cross the finish line.  And then his father jumped from the stands, waved off security, and helped his son finish what he started.  I don’t know if anyone remembers who won that race.  But they all remember Derek.

All these athletes started with a dream.  An idea that they could reach the highest mountain peak. They had setbacks.  Injuries.  Lack of funding to train.  Tragedies.  But what sets them apart is the fact that they believed in themselves and they never, ever gave up.

Do you believe that you can do anything?  Because you can.  But a dream is just a hope without a plan.  Write down your big, Olympic-sized goal.  And start taking one small step towards it today.

Life experience is what defines our character

We moved into the home I grew up in when I was about two years old and stayed until I was 18.  Lots of memories were made there.  I learned how to ride a bike.  Walked to school.  Played five rocks. Learned how to swim.  Broke my arm after getting dizzy spinning in circles and falling right beside my mother as she folded laundry.  Played with my friend across the street where we ate Wonder Bread slathered in Nutella.  Got my first job at the local swimming pool.  Started high school.  

As I pack up boxes to move, I can’t help but feel bittersweet about the home we are leaving and excited about the new adventure that awaits.  It has also made me realize that all the things I remember from my house growing up are feelings.  Things in my mind.  Not things I can hold in my hand.  I remember the love.  The laughter.  The dinner table conversations.  The challenges.  The things I experienced.
Nev Schulman said, “Life experience is what defines our character, even if it means getting your heart broken or being lied to.  You know, you need the downs to appreciate the ups. Going on the adventure or taking that risk is important.”
Once we are under a new roof, we will start the next chapter.  And we are the ones writing the story. William Feather said, “One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.”  Can’t wait to see what happens next.

The epitome of joy

From when I was very young there is one thing I always remember.  The way my mother’s face lit up when I walked into a room.  I could be coming inside after playing or returning home from a trip to Europe.  It still happens today and I am a 43-year-old woman. That feeling of unconditional love.

As a mom-of-three, there are definitely days when I don’t do as well as I’d like.  I might have that “I’m-in-the-middle-of-something” look when the kids come up to me.  Or I don’t have time between making meals, tidying up and running out to activities to play a game of Trouble or look at what they found in the backyard.

But I continue to strive to do better.  To stop and notice the beautiful little people that they are. To listen to their thoughts on the world.

I just spent a week at a rented cabin on a lake with the kids.  Their bliss at running full tilt into the water.  Or jumping off the floating dock.  Or getting that marshmallow perfectly toasted over the fire. It truly is the epitome of joy.

We can all learn something from the children around us.  As Kailash Satyarthi once said, “Childhood means simplicity.  Look at the world with the child’s eye – it is very beautiful.”

And as Ashley Smith once said, “Life is full of beauty.  Notice it.  Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces.  Smell the rain, and feel the wind.  Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”

And never forget to welcome those you love with a look that reminds them how amazing they really are.

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