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Sara Stover

Living a story worth telling. Shining a light on stories worth sharing.



The Hawaiian sun is burning off the ethereal mist that hugged Mauna Kea this morning when I dropped Patrick off to run Mana Rd. with Justin. They’re probably about 5 or 6 miles into their off-road run at this point, and I’m sipping coffee in Waimea, watching a local in boardshorts and cowboy boots order an espresso.

Seems like the ideal time to look back at the two VERY important lists that I made a year ago while living in New Hampshire. THE LISTS that changed everything. 

mauna kea wildflower - headupheartopen.jpg

Life is a journey, not a destination. And I’m more convinced than ever that God cares more about who we are becoming on this journey then what we accomplish. Over the past year, I’ve tried to be intentional about focusing on becoming patient, peaceful, kind, loving, grateful, prayerful and compassionate. I’ve changed a ton, but admittedly have miles and miles to go.

There are some things that I will not waste another second of my life trying to change though. Things that make me ME. Sides of me I’ve been afraid to show. The bright shades of me that I’ve tried to dim to please others. When I made the first of the two lists, I had just finished an 8-mile trail run.  I was shooting the breeze with a dude I had been hanging out with, changing out of my trail runners in the parking lot, describing my perfect run in my typical loud, animated fashion. His response? 

“Not everything is exciting all the time Sara. Calm down.” 

What the ?!! Actually, considering the months I spent sidelined from injury, or from plain old exhaustion from the hardest season of my life, it was pretty damn exciting! As I drove home, I wrestled with the choice before me: Dull my sparkle so someone would accept me? Or choose rejection, but accept me in the process? 

I chose Door Numero Dos. And then I got home and pulled out a page in my journal. At the top, I scribbled these words…

I will not let anyone criticize my enthusiasm or dull my shine or put out my fire anymore! I will not play small anymore! 

Below that, I made a list of all my unique attributes and idiosyncrasies. The shades and sides of me that I refused to water down or hide, no matter what. It’s a list I’d encourage everyone to make, sooner than later. Your “I AM” list! 

If it helps you get started on your “I AM” list, here’s what made it onto mine…

I AM: 

Animated.   Enthusiastic.   Positive.   Poetic.   A dreamer.   A believer.                     Soulrunner.   Storyteller.   World changer.   Adventure chaser.   A compassionate badass.   Life lover.   Simple liver.   Health nut.  Outdoorsy chick.   Aloha cowgirl.   Mountain mermaid.  Artist.   Athlete.   A gypsy soul.   A Jesus lover.   A trail seeker.                                I do not own a hairbrush.   I have more backpacks than purses.   I prefer spending more time on adventures and less time in front of a mirror.                                                                And someday someone will see all this and hear my song and read the words I write while sitting on a rock at the end of some trail…   And fall in love with my soul!          Because I am a free spirit and I will not be bottled up! 

let your own light shine you unconsciously give others permission to do the same

Ready to get started on your own “I AM” list?! Do NOT include things on your list like  “Negative” or “Short-fuse”  because let’s be honest, those don’t make the world a brighter place. Do include those things that make you your radiant self, even if they are the very things that often make you feel a little different, a little weird, maybe even misunderstood! The world needs more individuals who are brave enough to be who God made them to be, unapologetically!

As for the last part of my list, the part where I declare that someone will see all this crazy and hear my heart’s rather loud song and read my unfiltered words, and fall in love with my soul? Well, that was the beginning of the second list. All my single dudes and chicks out there, you still have more homework to tackle. I have titled it the “Soulmate List” and while you won’t want to avoid making this list forever, you should take your time crafting it! Go for a solitary run or walk. Grab a journal and head to that spot where you always find clarity. And do some soul searching.

Maybe you don’t believe in the whole notion of a “soulmate” but if you do, my guess is that you have a sense of what will make you recognize them. A “soulmate” is entirely different from that guy or gal you daydreamed about when you should have been paying attention in math class, by the way. It’s that soul you sense in your heart when you close your eyes, not the babe you see on the cover of a magazine! That soul who will love you exactly as you are with no intention to change or fix you, yet with the awareness that we are all in a constant state of change. That heart that will empower you with the courage to step out of your comfort zone and dwell there. In turn, you will undoubtedly be driven to do the same for them! 

You want to know what made it onto mine I suspect. As long as you promise not to skip your own soul-searching, I’ll let you in on a few items from my list…

My faith, my running, and my writing are so intrinsically part of who I am that I cannot be with someone who does not appreciate, support and inspire these expressions of my heart.      Someone who will want to live a healthy, simple, impactful life with me.   Be at my finish lines. Climb mountains with me.   Run trails with me.      Kiss me under the stars. Care more about people and memories than things.      Someone who loves God.   Loves trail running for hours.   Who is crazy enough to race in a tutu or paint his toenails for a race.      Someone who loves the rain and nature.  Who encourages other runners.        Someone who will see me sitting on a rock reading, or lost in a blog I’m writing and will READ it and be in love with me because of it!   Who will go to the farmers market with me.     Someone who has a dog… or wants one! And who will sing me Backstreet Boys’ songs (Seriously, I wrote that. About a month after we started talking Patrick sent me “All I Have to Give” out of the blue).

backstreet boys

I’ll let you in on something else… I wrote this last October, before I ever met or spoke to Patrick. Although we followed each other on Instagram because of several mutual friends, and his love for trail races and ultras was no secret, I was not aware that he had been reading my blogs for months. Nor was I aware that he had both run in a tutu and painted his toenails for a race, as seen below 🙂


After I dug deep into the corners of my heart to create these two very important lists, everything began to shift. I began to believe that my soulmate was closer than I realized. And indeed he was! So when Patrick came into my life, I recognized him almost immediately. 

stover wedding 10

Maybe you aren’t ready to make the “Soulmate” list. Heck, maybe you aren’t even ready to make the “I AM” list yet. That is SO ok! But that is also probably an indication that you are not ready to share your path with your soulmate. That first list is for everyone. Whether you are single or happily married, passionate about your career or ready to choose a new one, at a crossroads in life or just a stop sign, I hope you’ll carve out some time before the summer comes to a close to craft that list!

I’ll help you get started...






This entry was posted in Life.
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