#RichardsJourney: An Open Letter to my Elevator

#RichardsJourney: An Open Letter to my Elevator

Contributed by
Richard Lara

Dear Elevator,


Although we have had our highs and our lows, I feel like we are no longer on the same level. Every time we reach new heights you always complain about how much I push your buttons. You’re slow, lazy and never want to go out of your comfort zone. Your attitude just brought me down and because of that I have decided to pursue happiness elsewhere. It hasn’t taken long for me to start dating around.

I first met a Spanish gal named, Lera. Esca Lera. And let me tell you something, she is nothing like you. She motivates me to lift myself up and keeps me active. She’s quite strong and firm and always stands her ground. However, our relationship did not last long. Esca Lera would let anyone step on her and she never stood up against it. I tried helping her, but surprisingly, she was okay with getting stepped on. It was just a never-ending story with her. I just didn’t want the same to happen to me, so I left.

I continued the search for my other half. Days and nights passed as I sought after a partner. I ran and ran thinking my soulmate was miles away when in reality she was just around the corner. Although I only ran a 5K, it felt like I ran from LA NYC. And that’s when I met Giná.

I was lucky to find Giná Sio considering she’s Portuguese. I mean, what are the odds, right? I found that Giná is everything I was looking for. She’s social, active, self-motivated and always stays fit. She constantly encourages me to take on new challenges such as swimming, cycling, HIIT classes or yoga. I visit her about 3-5 days a week, and I always look forward to spending time with Giná Sio. She is my new addiction.

I’m sorry things could not work out between us, Elevator. But don’t beat yourself up because it wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t you, it was me.

Take care,




Follow my journey with #RichardsJourney and those of my colleagues with #Journeys2017

For blogs, tips and ideas about life and relationships, follow us @familybridges.

When Life Gives You Lemons, You Make Lemonade

When Life Gives You Lemons, You Make Lemonade

Contributed by
Omaira Gonzalez

Recently my husband and I went for a long walk at a nearby forest preserve.  This was a new location for us, and we enjoyed exploring the nature around us.  After an hour or so we noticed that we had been walking in circles around the same spot!  We chuckled a bit as we couldn’t believe we never noticed that we kept passing the same bench or sitting area.  We began to search for a path that would lead us back on track to our car.

Our travelling plans have been somewhat of the same experience.  Our goal was to travel more this year; however, we have come across some paths that have kept us going in circles.  I call these paths the “unexpected,” like when life throws you a curve ball. However, as the saying goes “when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade,” and we have learned to make the best of these moments and grow from them. My husband and I started to think of creative ways to continue exploring and traveling without spending too much money.  We started to visit the Forest Preserves in our area each weekend.  I started to observe that many families go on these trails,  going on walks and picnics. We were so encouraged by this that we started to take our family on our trail walks to enjoy some quality time together.  It is free, great exercise, and you can bring a picnic basket with some of your favorite foods.

Though my husband and I did not anticipate the setbacks that we came across this year, we did learn that there are so many other ways to appreciate each other, spend quality time together, and save money.  We did schedule a vacation trip to one of destinations on our bucket list and we allowed ourselves enough time to pay it off, all we need to take with us is spending money.

We know that when it rains it pours, and we have learned to keep an umbrella nearby and to not be discouraged. Difficult times have given us incentive to look outside of the box for opportunities to create valuable experiences.

You can stay up to date with my journey on social media with #OmairasJourney.

For more tips and ideas about life and relationships, follow us @familybridges.

Running on a Dreadmill

Running on a Dreadmill

Contributed by
Ashley Reed

I hate running on treadmills to point where I have nicknamed them dreadmills. I love running outside. The feeling of the sun and the occassional breeze, the sound of my sneakers crunching on gravel, the serene feeling of running underneath a canopy of leafy trees. The treadmill may say that I have run 3 miles, but I don’t feel like I have run 3 miles. Listening to a music playlist, alternating between staring at the tv and watching the people lift weights in front me, just isn’t exciting. What makes a run is the little things – trying a new route, seeing a bright red cardinal flutter in the trees, and the feeling that you are making a journey. For my long runs, it is cool to reflect on all of the passed milestones – trotting past the coffee shop, sprinting under the spooky bridge, reaching your turnaround point – it feels like my mind, body, and soul all go through a simple pilgrimage together. The reason I run isn’t to fit into my skinny jeans or keep my heart healthy (although those are perks), I run because it is a meditative activity that I enjoy. It is a release from stress and anxiety, and I have never regretted a single run that I have done.

It is March, and Chicagoland is blanketed in snow. Running while bundled in layers, pushing against the wind, sounds scary. So I sweat in the indoors, complain about the treadmills, and dream of warmer temperatures. The hardest part of running isn’t the physical exertion, it is the mental will to keep going (in my opinion). I keep myself going by envisioning crossing my finish lines (I have a half marathon and full marathon coming up) and knowing that warmer runs are just around the corner.

Until Next Time.

Follow my journey at #AshleysJourney #journeys.

Helping Men Create a Better Marriage

Helping Men Create a Better Marriage

Contributed by
Bill Ferrell

Men are dense. I know. I am one.

I want to create something or some things that will help men have better marriages. By nature, men have a desire to lead, an appetite for competition, and a passion to conquer. This often results in advancing in their careers, doing amazing feats of athleticism, and solving global problems. (Disclaimer: Results will vary based on each individual man).
But men often suck in marriage. That’s why I wanted to go on this journey.
At first I wanted to write a book. And since the goal is for men – it had to be short, to the point, and easy to read. And maybe include some bazookas and hand grenades.

I also wanted to write a curriculum that men could go through in six weeks (short, but not too short). This would involve personal interaction with material, including assignments that they would do with their wives. They would share with each other about the results to get support and encouragement. Also, out of fear of looking like a slacker – they would be more inclined to follow through. Or not. That’s how passive we can be.

And so, I am setting time aside every day to research and write. I plan to survey men and women along the way to get their feedback. The length of the book and curriculum may change. I may modify the format. I am not sure what the final project will exactly look like. It is a journey in a direction, but I am not sure what I’ll find along the way. Or what the destination will be.

I just know it will be an adventure!

Follow my journey at #BillsJourney #journeys.

A Journey of Silence

A Journey of Silence

Contributed by
Nancy Duarte

Hi, I’m excited to share my journey with you, which is strengthening the spiritual disciplines. God intends the Disciplines of the spiritual life for ordinary human beings, like me, people that go to work everyday, care for children, etc. The only requirement to get started is a longing for God. My goal for this year is to start from the inward towards the outward disciplines, and hopefully applying them in the community. So beginners are welcome! Let´s walk together and share our growth in this area.

Let´s see, How to get started? I´m doing my own research by getting books that might help me in my journey. Also, I´m planning to meet a Spiritual Director, someone who is been trained in the process of growing not only in spiritual disciplines, but also in other areas of spiritual life. Good resources of this journey are the books Celebration of Discipline (Richard Foster) and Spiritual Formation (Henry Nouwen). They come from two different traditions, nevertheless, they enrich the journey.

You might wonder, where are you now? I´m working on the process of discipline my body and mind from the everyday noise. Yes, practicing “be still and know that I am God”. This is not an easy goal to accomplish. I´m becoming aware of my own distractions, e.g. the unanswered mail, the phone call pending, the news, etc. Most of all, I would say my inner voices….that take me to the sense of urgency over of what it is really important….also, I´m trying to keep a written journal of my experiences…..I´ll keep you posted!