the people who inspire…


For whatever reason, I’ve been extremely sentimental lately.  I’ve always cherished my relationships but lately have spent a lot of time thinking about my friends and how lucky I am to have them in my life.  And no, it was not a result of all that ‘rapture’ talk the other week.  Honestly, I think approaching and turning forty really made me take stock of things – really evaluate who and what was truly important. Family and friends first…always!  I’m sure that each of us has a small group of people we consider our ‘inner circle’ and an even smaller group we know would set aside anything if we called them in a time of need, even if it was 3 a.m. and required cross-country travel.  Beyond the obvious, my parents, grandma and Goldfarb, I can literally count those people on one hand.  They are, in no uncertain terms, my lifeline. But I’m blessed. There is another group that has left indelible marks on my life, changing it forever.  It’s my grade school teacher Mrs. Himmelspach who always expected more of me, more than even I thought I could possibly deliver.  She taught me to try harder and expect more of myself.  It’s my high school track coach and biology teacher Ms. Wosepka who constantly challenged me to put in the proper amount of time to be better and not slack off; to not take things and talents for granted.  It’s my college teacher Mr. Henderson who encouraged me to write more and to find a voice.  It’s my longtime friends SuLee and Jeff who inspire me to love deeper, give greater and constantly strive to be a better person.  
I’ve been talking a lot recently about running and working out. I’ve announced that it’s time to get serious about my training and have taken steps to accomplish this goal.  But why, especially since I’ve been running for a few years now?  For those who know me well, they might think it’s because I’m hyper competitive.  That’s only 50% of it.  The other 50% is because of a girlfriend who, absolutely, has changed my life.  She is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever encountered. We met while working with a charity we both love and became friends. I was so honored to be invited to her wedding only to be heartbroken and shocked when weeks before the ceremony her fiance died as a result of a vicious attack that my girlfriend survived.  But ‘surviving,’ as a word, does not begin to describe her.  When most people would become defined by the tragedy, her long-held outlook on life allowed her to take the deep pain and hurt and turn it into a reason to remain strong and, unbelievably, help others.  I think it would take about 1,000 more words to accurately describe her to you – so let me bottom line this.  She is an incredibly loving, giving and motivating individual.  
Right now, as I write this, she is taking time to do something for herself.  She gives so much time, energy, talent and resources to help others that it almost seems unlike her to take time for herself.  Which is even more reason why I am so excited she’s embarked on a five week journey to learn to live more healthfully.  She is doing an intensive program that is, to me, physically unbelievable.  I read her blog posts about her daily workout routine and I’m left both exhausted and energized. Her daily digests, photos, meals and recipes are fab!  This is a great mango smoothie recipe she shared with us her first week.  Through her endeavor, I’ve been inspired to push myself harder; to do the work that is required to not only be more physically fit but to get stronger and faster.  Thus, the trainer, the boot camp, the 5 day-a-week workout schedule, the addition of more races.  Thank you, my dear friend, for not only inspiring me push further but for teaching me deeper understanding, greater patience, and showing me that the world’s negatives are always, always, outweighed by good and love.
Mango Smoothie
serves 4
3 cups mangoes, diced
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 banana, sliced
1 cup apple juice, no sugar added
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. honey {I used agave nectar}
1 tsp. cinnamon  {I used Vietnamese cinnamon – yum!}
strawberries + mint for garnish
In a blender combine all ingredients except strawberries and mint. I used frozen mangoes because that is what I had on hand – if you use fresh, add 1 cup of ice.  Pulse until smooth.  Pour into four glasses and garnish with strawberries and mint. 
14 calories / 4 g protein / 32 g carbs / 4 g fiber
 
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