10,000 steps.

I just finished walking laps in my neighborhood to reach my 10,000 step goal. It is 8:39 pm. Finally got to my fitness goal for the day – didn’t quite make it in the sleep category.

10000 steps

Why is it so darn difficult to reach the simple goals of 8 hours of sleep at night and 10,000 steps in a day?  I used to be an athlete at one point back in the day – practicing the sport of the season for a couple of hours daily. And then there were the years of hitting the gym faithfully – step aerobics and treadmills and lifting weights.  But at this current stage of life, I am struggling to even manage 10,000 steps of walking on a regular basis.  In fact, I was so frustrated with my lack of time – actually my lack of discipline – in my failure to reach the goal, that I simply stopped wearing the little bracelet tracking device.  Ugh.

BUT…I am back on the wagon again today.  A fresh calendar to log the results is hanging in the fridge – my most recent attempt at that strategy lasted 3 days until I simply took the calendar down.  I purchased a new pair of sneakers to leave at work for a midday walk – however I have not put them on once in the past few weeks.  I have purchased sessions at Core Power Yoga that are just waiting to be redeemed.

Sleep and regular fitness ought to be ESSENTIALS in my life.  I have some familial history around high blood pressure and heart attacks – really hoping to escape that unfortunate gene.  My work can involve a bit of stress at times and the greatest antidotes to that are good sleep and a healthy dose of endorphins flowing!  So…what is my excuse?  Why not go to bed at a decent time?  Why not wake 30 minutes earlier for a little fresh air and a walk around the neighborhood? Why not put on the headphones and a little inspiring music for a quick evening walk?  Heck – I could learn to speak Creole, if I simply listened to the language recordings as I walked daily! Dang.  That is what I ought to do.  Yet the draw to watch the Nashville premiere or surf Pinterest or flip through People magazine lure me in.

Am I alone?  Are there others out there struggling to find time to be fit?  To get your sleep?  Do you set goals and achieve them? Have you established rituals and routines that work? If you do, then PLEASE chime in with your fantastic tips!  As for me – think I will go lay out some sweats and my sneakers for a little morning stroll and get ready to head to bed!  Good night y’all!

midlife contentment.

There is all of this hype around folks that have midlife crises…during our forties and fifties…questioning life, aging, whining over our lost youthfulness.  And yet…for me…I believe that I may have reached midlife contentment.  Gratitude for life as I know it…very little angst for what lies ahead…and not too much regret for all that has passed.  It is a good place to be.

My BFF Jen Hatmaker (you do know that if you read her stuff, you naturally feel like BFFs) says it so wisely in her book For the Love.  [If you have not picked it up yet, stop what you are doing, click on this LINK and order it now. Well…at least those of you that may be a midlifer or a mom or a Jesus loving justice seeker.]

You settle in. These kids, this husband, this little life you’re building…you say amen.  You are slower to tell everyone how wrong they are and quicker to gather your folks and breathe gratitude.  This is your place. These are your people. This is your beautiful, precious life. Probably about halfway done on earth, you lay down angst and pick up contentment.

Annie Dillard was right:  “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”  You decide your days should contain laughter and grace, strength and security. You realize insecurity, striving, jealousy, and living in comparison will eventually define your entire life, and that is not the legacy you want. Let the young whippersnappers duke it out; you and your people are busy enjoying a bottle of wine on the deck.

For the Love chapter 2: On Turning Forty

Dang. Ain’t that the truth? How we spend our days, is how we spend our lives?  My days are currently filled with long hours at work that I love, date nights, lazy Saturdays, planning for school in Haiti, inviting family and friends over or out for dinner, reading blogs and books and facebook posts, flipping through instagram and pinterest, church potlucks, Friday night football games, eating bowls of popcorn while watching law and order reruns, bible studies and book clubs, phone calls to my folks, text messages and long conversations with my girlie… and so. much. more.

A big highlight from last weekend, was a 5 hour, 7 city search with the hubby for a new living room chair. A yellow chair. From furniture shop to furniture shop we traveled…there was a drive-through at McDonalds for ice cream cones…a gas station refuel, where we purchased sunflower seeds and sodas for the drive…it was an ALL DAY EVENT…for a silly yellow chair.  And you know what?  It was awesome.  Serious marital bonding over this chair. No stress – no rush – just a Saturday adventure for a couple of contented midlifers.

Yellow Chair


Tomorrow begins another school year.  I always feel as if this is my bonus “new year” – a time to reflect and plan ahead – a fresh start as new routines take shape.  Many of my friends are educators as well and they have been busy setting up classrooms, designing pinterest worthy spaces, planning lessons, reviewing student info, and listening to all of the newsworthy sessions from school leaders on data, pbis, rti, personalized learning, technology integration, yada, yada, yada.


My friends are also parents, ready to send their kiddos off to another year – many feeling nostalgic at the quick pace these children are growing up…but most are READY to just send them off – bring on ROUTINES! GET THEM BACK IN CLASS!

summers finally over

For me…I am just now realizing that it has been an incredible whirlwind of a summer and all I can really say is WHEW!

#1 Team Trip to Haiti

Team Trip to Haiti

#2 Bridal Showers and Bachelorette Parties

Showers and Bachelorette Party

#3 Kyle and Breelynn’s Wedding

Bree and Kyles Wedding

#4 In-Laws living with us for 2 months this spring and then moving them to Senior Living in Woodbury

In-Laws New home

#5 Job interview, departing Saint Paul Public Schools after 19 years and a new job as Special Education Assistant Director in  ISD 197 – West St. Paul/Mendota Heights/Eagan

New School

(cheering on Henry Sibley’s football team-representing the HS Warrior gear!)


Twenty-five years ago [May/June/July 1990], Bob and I made a few life changes all within a seven week period:

  1. graduated from college
  2. got married
  3. moved to California
  4. started our first teaching jobs

Apparently – we live in the “go big or go home” mentality.  Good stuff – ALL OF IT.  Feeling incredibly blessed for the village of family and friends that are sharing this journey with us.  Couldn’t have done it without you.

Now bring on the simple life – routines and all.

wake up _ routine

no regrets.

Tonight, a wise friend shared her wisdom with me….telling me to live life fully with no regrets.  Love – even when tired…to be “all in,” when the easy response is to hold back…to really live with “no regrets.”

So what does that really even mean?  Each one of us will be called to live our own life…challenged to make the most of the gifts we have been given and the circumstances that surround us.  There will be moments we need to say no and then again times to just dive in – head first.  I may have a tendency to live life carefully…to live by the rules…to be cautious…to do the “right thing” – the “expected things.” And then again, as I grow in age and experience and hopefully a bit of wisdom…I am learning to live in the moment.

I have heard stories of heartache this week…of paralysis and suicide attempts and cancer and farewells and deep, deep heartache. Life can be a bugger.  So all we can do is take it one day at a time…one moment at a time…living and loving and breathing…

…napping – eating coconut gelato – telling new colleagues to bring their sneakers for a noon walk – savoring late night patio conversations on a work night – watching a marathon of a TV series – reading a classic book  – taking long bicycle rides – grilling pizzas on vacation – asking hard questions and really listening – balancing kale salads and chocolate brownies – sharing hugs and tears and prayers…

Live life well my friends – with no regrets.

No Regrets

kozefò 5K by the numbers.

Runners, walkers and volunteers enjoyed another beautiful sunny day to support the work at ANA Primary School.  Student art work, Kozefò merchandise and handmade soap were the new additions this year! (Thanks Jim for the Haitian inspired Toasted Coconut Lime Verbena!)

10 students were selected for sponsorship-YEA! 30ish are still waiting, so check them out on our website if you are interested: http://www.kozefo.org/sponsor/

And the results are in for the 4th annual Kozefò 5K…

total Runners-Walkers registered: 90

total volunteers: 35

money raised: $4000

Overall participation and money raised may be a bit down from last year [guessing that many summer vacationers were still out of town] but that did not stop the FUN!  I am always humbled by the loyalty and generosity of others. My fav part of the day is making rounds to check in with the variety of folks that show up – cousins and in-laws, work colleagues, family friends, church members, schoolmates and the guy that won it was a returning runner just looking to support a good cause!

Thank you to you all!

5K Crew

5K Student Art

5K tumbler

5K Soap

5K Kozefò Graphic Designer

5K runners

5K Top runners

5K finishers

5K Sound Guy

5K Pals

opportunities to support Kozefò.

Thanks to the folks that came out to run/walk the Kozefò 5K today!  Stay tuned for pics and an update real soon…in the meantime, if you were unable to join us today due to summer vacations and other fun family outings, you can still support us!

Here are a few options for you:

simply make a DONATION at kozefo.org

purchase KOZEFÒ gear to promote education in Haiti (email me at sara.lein@kozefo.org to make a selection from the items available below)






purchase ART made by the students from ANA Primary School in Port au Prince, Haiti  (email me at sara.lein@kozefo.org to make a selection from the items available below)







opportunity to support Kozefò.

The annual Kozefò 5K is being held next Saturday, August 1st in Woodbury, Minnesota.  This is a great opportunity to support the students and staff at a small primary school in Port au Prince, Haiti. This school was once “home” to many sweet family members and friends of mine…

(Check out these dashing dudes that just shared in the wedding of our only child. Love these boys – JP, Eli, Stanley, Gefte, Vinny!)



So now, we have the chance to continue the work of education in Haiti.  Our June Kozefò Team was awesome – creating fabulously fun learning experiences, building additional classroom space, sharing sponsorship correspondence, providing a noon meal/drinking water and equipping the school with a computer lab.  Enrollment has nearly doubled for this upcoming school year.  And we will be needing all the support we can get to keep everything running smoothly.

Learning Is FUN

Building Crew

Rooftop Classroom


Sponsorship Coorespondence

Noon Meal

Tech Lab


New Student Sponsorships are NEEDED – information will be available at the 5K…

Student Sponsorship


Please consider joining us!  The Kozefò 5K is open to walkers, runners, observers!  You can register or donate on-line at http://www.kozefo.org/kozefo5k or on-site the morning of the event.  For more information about student sponsorships, please check our website on August 1st at http://www.kozefo.org/sponsor/

Thank you to all of you that have been supporting us through the past few years.  It is truly an incredible journey!