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Eyes on the Prize

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  “Ready, Set, Go!!!”   As the gun went off Zara popped up and sprung into action. She could feel the adrenaline coursing through her veins. She had been training for this marathon – changing her eating habits, lifting weights to strengthen her legs and running; boy had she been running! She went for early morning runs, after work runs, lunchtime treadmill sessions at her office gym (when she could fit them in). She had put in so much and had seen her body, strength and even her thinking change. Today was the day and she was off...

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Desperate in the Oasis (part 4)

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“Please Jasmine, just let me explain,” Laurent begged, desperately.   Laurent closed the gap between them and picked up the broken shards from the bowl that had fallen when Jasmine tripped. She stowed them safely under a nearby shrub and came back to where Jasmine was still frozen in place. Then she knelt down and wiped away the congealed porridge on Jasmine’s feet with the hem her robe. She looked up at Jasmine, eyes glistening with tears and pleading for understanding.   “My dearest friend,” she tried again, her voice cracking.   Jasmine sighed a deep sigh and reached down to...

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An Oasis in the Desert (Part 3)

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"'Receive graciously,' he said. 'Give always,' he advised." Jasmine muttered under her breath. Fuming at the thought of Mikhal's parting advice.   She knew none of this was actually his fault, but when emotions overwhelm one it is easiest to become defensive and cast a wide net of blame. Mikhal had been caught in Jasmine’s. After all, he was the one who set her on the path that led to this point. He was the one who encouraged and inspired her to pay the good he had done forward. He was the one who defied the terrible...

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Deserted in the Oasis (Part 2)

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The sun was high in the sky by the time Jasmine regained consciousness. She sat up slowly squinting while she rubbed the sand grains off her face and forearms. She looked around again, dismayed that all her hard work over the last week had been ruined by what was indeed a sandstorm. The temporary shelter she had erected was  scattered everywhere, sand grains had encroached on the space she had meticulously cleared and swept and most importantly that which she had feared had come upon her.   When Jasmine had seen five horses carrying men wearing white robes with...

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A Desert in the Oasis (Part I)

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Once upon a time there lived a young lady who was a nomad. Her name was Jasmine and today was her birthday. It was more significant than any other birthday because Jasmine had reached the “age of maturity” and therefore certain protocols had to be observed. Today was the day she prepared to separate from her entire family. Based on their nomadic culture Jasmine was required to become fully independent no later than two moons after this particular birthday. Over the course of her lifetime her family had relocated every five years, this fifth move...

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Happy Birthday to Me – A Tree Is A Tree Is a Tree

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A few weeks ago it was my birthday. I did not tell my friends, I did not post pictures or words. I did not celebrate myself or invite others to do so. I did not make any sort of deal about it, because I was ashamed. A year had passed and I did not feel like I had enough to show for it, so I tiptoed around the momentous occasion. Facebook reminded me as did other platforms, but I hoped no one would remember and not too many did.   When enough time had passed and the...

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Mirror Mirror On The Wall

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The mirror hanging on the wall in the hallway is haunted. It has a voice. It says things every time I walk past it. It says things every time I pause in front of it. It never stops saying things. Sometimes these things are minor, “You know you’re not a lipstick person, are you sure you want to slap on that Ruby Woo today?” Or, “Why so serious? Crack a smile every once in a while.”   Other times it says things of greater significance, “What are you even getting dressed up for today? You should have...

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Road Rage and One Foot on the Brake

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On this one slightly uphill road, at this one exit, at this one traffic light – I purposefully piss people off. I hear the honking, see them trying to maneuver bigger cars into smaller spaces behind me out of frustration, and I don’t care. If I’m being honest, I inch closer to the edge so they can't make it past me. I am paying forward my past frustrations. With one foot on the brake I force the lesson I learned the hard way on them in an easier fashion. They just don’t know it yet.   I waste...

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The Waiting Room

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Sometimes we are on the fast track. Sometimes we are in advancement mode. And sometimes things are plain slow.   Do not get discouraged or despondent when you are in the waiting room. Yes, you might not be able to see much changing around you, but there’s always an opportunity to look within and nurse the next big idea, discover more about the gem that you are, and decide what your next step will be.   Even when you are waiting for a response to an application, an offer for a position, feedback on a proposal, etc. there’s always...

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My Single Story (Part 2): Weathering Storms and an Awareness of Silver Linings

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  We arrived in Cleveland, Ohio and to my surprise another snowstorm awaited us. Slightly less snow, slightly less wind chill factor, but still cold as I don’t know what. Not exactly the warm welcome I had anticipated on the first day of the rest of our college lives.   We were directed to on campus parking, assigned our dorm rooms on the 11th floor, and began the arduous task of moving bin bags to bedrooms. We settled in to a smaller and less glamorous space than in Iowa and went in search of food. We were tired,...

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