What do you say to yourself each morning?

Dear Evan Hansen today is going to be a good day?


Give yourself room to bloom?

Our Father Who Art in Heaven?

I welcome any tools that come to me to add to my toolbelt?

– Dear Evan Hansen, Christine D’Ercole, The Heart Revival, Luke 11:2, Me

On this 19th Day of April 2021, I realize my journal check-ins have been irregular and very disjointed. I’ve been processing several different things that have been bubbling to the surface since 2017. While there never seems to be a good time to really write about it, here is at least my first attempt. Since soccer started last weekend the reminders of what is right with the world and what is wrong with the world were clearly on the fields in Munhall and North Huntingdon. The progress toward officially closing a business in a community that really needed it has also been reminding me to address items locally. Ultimately I know that my life experiences and my ability to process the challenges I’ve been handed are only there because I ultimately have the ability to process them and carry-on.

The one reminder that we need to live each day to the fullest of our ability took me back to that Ricardo Semler TED Talk. If we treat every day as if we received that terminal diagnosis now can be key in shaping happier lives. Anyhow, during my annual physical this week I received my own reminder. I’ve added the Covid-25, which puts me back to my weight when I began my weight-loss journey in 2008. During that time I headed the Wellness Team at my work location joined a workplace Weight Watchers, added in weekly Kundalini yoga, had an ACL revision surgery, started logging all my food and focused on moving more. I’ve also hit the age where we add in the bloodwork and additional screenings with a family history of cancer, diabetes and likely heart disease. Hello colonoscopy!

Have you spent more time on screen working, socializing, working out, fundraising, learning? It’s been a great way to connect with the Arrigo cousins, old college classmates, @cupidsundierun, @ALSofWesternPA and even the extended 305-Pankiewicz group.

  • I just need to keep adding tools to the tool belt, I never know when I’ll need a hammer, drill, minister or lawyer.
  • I have to keep reminding myself that everybody is carrying their own challenges and the decisions were made to the best of that person’s ability, based on the information available to them at the time, and their personal perspective.
  • This really is a first world problem, when was the last time you looked at it from the third world view?
  • I’m blessed because I’ve been able to be local to many different places.
  • What is the one thing I can do today to help connect different communities.
  • Really corporations are people, too!
  • What is that $1000 change I can make? What’s keeping me from doing it?
  • I really need to look at this from a place of abundance and gratitude.
  • I can stop the spread of fear and hate, start living for the day, tell the story that I want to live.
  • Live curiously, ask why, keep learning.
  • My grandfather on one side was a first-generation immigrant into this country. I’m aware of inconsistencies regarding all the children on their naturalization certificate.

Our idea of urban/suburban planning really came with some crazy rules based on the biases/insecurity/racism of the day. Do you know the story behind Pittsburgh’s Civic Arena and the construction of I-376? Or maybe how Miami Beach was developed and marketed to only certain clientele. (Thank you friends in the 305)

If you know somebody that was housed after WWII due to the GI bill, be grateful. There were certain GI’s that did not receive that same opportunity. Reaching out to Angel and Abby over a Netflix movie review of “The Last Resort” became an exercise in understanding the development of Miami Beach. The place that is now overrun with tourists and a diverse international community was originally developed in an era that allowed for provisions of anti-Semitism and racism. Those of us in Pittsburgh that grew up supporting the Penguins and driving on the interchange just above the Golden Triangle often don’t know the story of the Hill District before those urban redevelopment projects. I’m grateful to have friends that have studied and continue to work in these development functions, so we can hopefully acknowledge our errors and build better communities through better information in the future.

I personally prefer walking communities. Phoebe and Crosby prefer walking communities. I’m not sure, but seeing how our overall health in the United States contributed to the severity of Covid-19, I wonder what would happen if we went back to those walking and biking communities. What happens when you put industry over people. When I was born the waters of the Monongahela River were not usuallyas a place for recognition. The mills in Allenport, Monessen and Donora were known to use that river for discharge. Despite living only minutes from a boat launch, I didn’t become a river rat until my late 30’s. We now have rivers around Pittsburgh that we can swim, paddle, row, SUP, boat, and fish. I’ve worked on projects in college focused on cleaning up abandoned mines through passive filtration and understand the long term effects of not keeping mine drainage in mind.The movement to convert abandoned rail lines into bike trails has given some of us new ways to see our old industrial past. Why do I mention these items? I’ve lived in a Wisconsin developer community with a two car garage. I’ve spent a good portion of my life living in a walkable-shoppable town with public transit and only parallel parking–Charleroi and Aspinwall both fit this description. While the two communities may be 30 miles apart, they have more similarities that most people will think. Reba, Crosy and Phoebe will tell you that going for walks, meeting people, getting pets were the same in either town. Both had trails to walk and streams to play in during the summer.

We as a country need to make ACTIVE easy and appealing. In my day’s as Wellness Director in the PPG workplace we found ways to get our employees outside and moving daily by adding trails, group exercise classes and Kundalini yoga, while promoting wildlife on-site. Thanks to the guidance of Alberto Colombi MD corporate medical director we also conducted bicycle rides to connect our locations through biking the Pittsburgh region. Why does activity matter? Look at our national obesity trends? Do you think that now we are seeing the effects two generations later from our disconnected communities that don’t make it easy for us to get outside and stay active.

Should our communities of faith be part of these active communities? Similar to meditation and the other mantras, saying the Our Father prayer has universal pauses for breath and in the group recitation actually creates a communal mantra. I know, mixing mantras with the teaching of the Catholic Church may not go hand-in-hand, but in reviewing the way stories are repeated every three years, the church’s liturgical cycle and liturgy is built on repetition. I acknowledge this faith that was a core part of my learnings of good, evil, creation, sin, belief, hope, joy, an afterlife and the unspoken became a key form of meditation for my grandmother’s on both sides, my mom and aunt. Creating a ritual and cleansing one’s mind to prepare for the days ahead can come in many forms. Religion can definitely provide that same enlightenment. In understanding the current migration patterns to the United States, it is possible for our collective religions in this country to embrace the challenge now the same way that the Catholic Bishop’s of the United States jumped on immigration of the 1920s, 1930s and the baby boom.

We all ultimately need a support network and we need to be completely open to speak what we think by creating safe places where we just listen. I realize that sometimes I need to slow down and become a better listener.

Today, I’m starting a new journey and doing one of those less than $100 items–I’m packing up my goalkeeper coaching bag and heading up PA-28 to Kittanning to share my love for the beautiful game with a little coaching session. Start simple and find a way to make a change today.

  • שהשלום יהיה עימך
  • assalamu alaikum
  • peace be with you
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