Sunday, May 31, 2015

What I Learned In May

5 months of the year are gone already! Can you believe that?
  I'm naturally a very reflective person. That has its good and its bad, but overall, I believe the reflection is what pushes me forward into dreams and goals and pursuing future opportunities. You will find very reflective posts this week, if you stick with me, because not only is it the end of May, but the 5K just took place, and I learned strong lessons through it (as always), and I have a year anniversary this week as well, which leads me into reflective mode.
 But I love the end of the month posts, where I reflect on what I learned in the month... silly and serious both.
  May was full- birthdays, graduations and the 5K. But May was a beautiful month.
This is just a portion of what I learned:

 1. I can be alone and still have fun.
 Being a people person, I naturally want people to join me in anything I am doing. The very first weekend of May, I went away for work. Not far, mind you (an hour is not really "away"), but nonetheless, it was out of my home environment. I asked a few different people (since it was close enough to home...) if they wanted to join me for an evening in the city.  Some couldn't, some didn't want to, it doesn't really matter at this point. I suppose it was a good experience for me. Because out of the experience, I learned I am comfortable with me, and with who I am, and I don't always have to have someone at my side.
  I have never once in my life gone out to eat at a nice restaurant alone. It's boring to me to do that. I like to conversate. But, here I was in the city, and I wasn't about to sit in a boring place down the street from my hotel room, so I endeavored out. Don't laugh (ok, you can if you want...) but I  felt like  big girl, all grown up, walking through downtown buildings and blocks and parties all by myself.   I chose a place to eat, and it was busy and full, so I found a seat at the bar and ordered and ate there. I am not going to lie, it was kind of boring. I like to talk, or listen, and well, when you're alone, you don't do either. But after a bit, I chatted with the girl who sat next to me. I ordered ridiculous food I didn't need and enjoyed my evening. When dinner was finished, I took my dessert to go and sat by the river and listened to a band and enjoyed the warm evening.
  It got boring after a while, so I wandered back to the hotel. But the point is, it was a good experience for me. I learned that it's okay to do stuff by myself once in a while. I learn things about myself. And I figure out that I'm ok in the skin I'm in.  :)  My night in the city below....

 2. I learned how to do a screenshot on my phone.
     This is probably the dumbest thing to admit, but I really never had done a screenshot on my phone. I have from computers and I have come a long way in my technology skills. But I'd never needed to screenshot. Until this month. So I learned how.  :) Thank you to my 11 year old son for teaching me. I am not too embarrassed to admit it.

 3. Friendship.
  I seem to constantly be learning about this topic. Maybe the rest of my life I will, until I can better apply the fact that Jesus is the One person who will never fail me. May held some personal challenges for me. Ones I am not prepared to launch into. But along the course of this month, God brought some beautiful new people into my life- Amanda, Erin, and Cheri- all 3 of those came as a result of peeling back my layers and allowing vulnerability to play a part.  All 3 of those women are beautiful, unexpected gifts to me. Prayer warriors and women who have walked in my shoes or women who simply have a heart to listen and be there. Because I chose to be vulnerable for a moment. Vulnerability is hard. But it's real. And important.  I am blessed to have those 3 now part of my journey. Whether it's for a season or for a lifetime, I don't know. But I have learned/am learning to be thankful for it, no matter what. I have other friends who stand the test of time, and remain a solid person in my life. I also learned the nature of having an expectation and being let down when that is unable to be fulfilled. The hurts and the struggles that come with that are the moments where I learn, again,  that Jesus is the One always there. When I am at a low point, or sobbing tears, a panic attack, or the most exciting news ever, or  dreams bursting through my skin.... sometimes it's good for me to learn that He is the One for me to share with in that moment. It's not really a let down from friends, per say, it's about God teaching me that He wants me to share all that with Him first and foremost. People are good.. and a necessity even... but some moments, I rely far too much on people. Vulnerability is good, too. And the deeper my friendship is with the One who is always there, the better friend I can be and the more I can realize the valuable moments with those who are my friends. 

4. Persevere
 This will be touched on now, but dived into a bit more in the blog to come on my 5K.  But persevere sort of became my word through May. Persevere through bad days . Persevere through ugly words. Persevere through thoughts of failing or fear of "losing". Persevere... because the beauty of the outcome is more than words can ever capture. The feeling of winning is not about succeeding. The feeling of winning comes more from pushing through and coming out a better person. No matter what the event is. 

5. I added to my "bucket list" 
    I was told I am a dreamer. (Not a realist or other words to describe that realm). It's pretty true of me, and I love it. So I go with it :)  But I have this ongoing bucket list , not with time frames, just things I want to one day do. This month I added to that bucket list that I want to hike the Appalachian Trail. I read this great book this month called A walk in the Woods,  by Bill Bryson. His story of hiking the trails, and I have a new fascination for it. Even if one day I only get to hike a small portion, it now sits on my bucket list. I love hiking anyway, but this book fueled the idea of one day taking a short journey on those long-worn trails.

6. I'm forever a kid at heart
  I love to run in the rain, roll windows down and sing loudly, jump on the trampolines, laugh like there's no tomorrow, and run barefoot through the grass. Seriously. I think the warmer weather brings these realizations to light. But those things are some of the "little things" that constantly bring a smile to my face. 

7. New exercises
  I have learned some new exercises. I have had to look them up to know what they are. Ones called "the superman" or "the skater" and all kinds of "fun" exercises along those lines. I cannot say I enjoy them, but it's been fun learning new ways to work the body. And challenge myself. I like challenges... and results, or even just knowing I did something new or something I thought I couldn't do. 

 May has been a great month, even if laced with challenges. It's been a great month because I have grown. And if we aren't growing in life, we aren't going anywhere. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Little Moments

With life moving quickly, events happening, and exhaustion setting in, even though it's not Friday (which is when I typically write these),  I find it good to pause for a moment today to share the little moments that bring smiles.
  -My son turned 11 last week. While that age is not a monumental one to mark in the books, I know that the days of his desire to spend time at home (because I take note of all my friends around me say) are quickly fleeing, so I am soaking in these times. I vow to enjoy them and not take advantage of them. For his birthday this year, he took a friend to SkyZone, an indoor trampoline venue. He had a blast, and I had just as much fun listening to his laughter and chatter. He even included me in some of the birthday endeavors.

 - My oldest nephew graduated this weekend. I am so proud of him. He and I share a special relationship. We, in essence, have grown up together, as I was fairly young when he was born. I have watched him grow, all the while growing myself. He holds a special place in my heart. 

My nephew, Robby, and his 2 sisters

- My cousin, Brian, and I only live 2 hours apart. But somehow, it's been 10 years since we have had any one on one time. This weekend (yes, it was a very packed full weekend!) , I had the privilege to hang out with him and his wife, Amy, and watch their son pitch a great game of baseball (and win!). And we got to catch up on the last 10 years of life. I love those relationships, where you pick up where you left off and don't skip a beat. Those are rare and precious. And Brian and I have vowed to not wait so long for our next visit. 

Chase, Brian, myself, and Amy

- I got a very random text from a friend who I had not heard from in a long time. In fact, he is a former boss of mine. He was my boss when my mom passed away, and we hadn't talked in a long time. He texted me a photo of a lit candle in memory of my mom, because he was at a cancer walk (Relay for Life) and was thinking of me and my mom and lit a candle in memory of her. I found that incredibly touching. In fact, words can't quite say how much that meant to me, that after many years of not working together or having contact, that he would take the time not only to remember her, and to do that, but send me a text along with it saying "Thinking of you..." How thoughtful and kind. 
 Thank you, Brandon. 

- A perfectly formed rose. I have a small rose bush to the side of my house. I kind of forget about it, to be honest. But Michael does not forget it is there. He is the one who tends to it. And the other day, he cut one and brought it in for me. You can't buy a rose so perfect as what you can find in the garden. I love roses. I love these especially, because they are a different color. It makes me happy every time I walk by it in my kitchen. 

- Last, but not least, I am a quote junkie. I love inspiring quotes, funny quotes, thought-provoking quotes.. pretty much I love words :) . Dr. Seuss has become one of my favorites lately. I know... so highly educated, right? But the truth is, his quotes are simple, fun, and at times, downright inspiring and true to the core. This is the latest one I discovered, and the simpleness, yet profoundness is not lost on me.

 And that is what I will part ways with today.... that sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory. That's what all these little moments are about. that's what life is about. They start out as just little moments, but become memories.... which makes that little moment valuable. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Plowing is a yearly job

5K week has arrived for me. Months of planning, talking, doing, and working towards a goal will shape up and be over in less than a week now.   This particular week will hold many hours logged towards executing an hour's worth of an event, but hopefully and prayerfully with an outcome that will last for years to come, in giving of the scholarship.
  Because of changing the date of my event this year, it's been a bit of a quiet whirlwind. But the lessons have been nothing short of powerful and growth producing, as they are each year. Occasionally, I enjoy going back to read posts from the past. And as I sat and did that recently, I focused on reading posts written close to 5K week in past years, to see at that time what I was learning, what God was teaching me. As  I did that, a post written from last year spoke pretty well what I have been learning this year. Perhaps in a bit of a different light, but with similar lines.
 I face challenges, as does anyone who puts on events. Sometimes year to year, those challenges change. Sometimes, the challenges remain the same. Sometimes, the challenge is different, but with the same lesson being taught.
  Last year, about a week ahead of my event, I had a powerfully motivating conversation with a close friend/mentor of mine. A conversation about plowing through the hard times and doing it. I can recall where I sat, and the hand motions of the plow and the depth of the meaning behind the conversation, not just being spoken in regards to the 5K, but in regards to all of life. I hadn't forgotten the conversation, but I had shelved it. There was a lot happening in life at that time... there is a lot happening in life now, too. So, recalling that conversation in light of all the transpiring events now, was a pensive and productive place for me. So, I am doing something this morning I have never done. I am reposting what I wrote at that time. You might remember it if you follow my blogs. If not, then I hope you can glean something from it.
 I soaked in that conversation that day... I recalled it today and let it soak in some more.  You will find it to be written in regards to plowing through life... and what I needed to remember today, is that a farmer doesn't plow once in a lifetime and then the field is forever "ready to go" . A farmer plows every year.... and every year, the yield of the crop is a bit different.
  So, as 5K week is here for me, I am plowing through some different challenges. And excited to see the outcome of the crop this year. And I owe a great thank you to the friend who cared enough to have that conversation with me back then, and I hope, if my friend is reading today, knows what a difference has been made from a few minutes of genuine conversation and care and concern, months ago, still resonating with me. to my friend I say.... Keep on Plowing... I am... Quietly perhaps, but plowing nonetheless. Thank you for the difference you make. And thank you for plowing alongside me. 

   Here were the words written that 5K week in 2014....

Plowing Through It

Because I am a farm girl at heart, analogies involving anything farm related paint real pictures for me.   So I found it relevant that the comparison of a plow was used today for me in conversation. The plow analogy, quite honestly, applies to many areas of life. At times, those areas are more serious, and at times, more comical
 A plow, if you do not know, is a piece of farm equipment that attaches to the back of the tractor, is lowered into the ground and essentially digs up dirt to prepare the ground for planting. The piece of equipment almost looks like claws/disks on the end, if you will, depending on the make. Regardless, the outcome is the same- it goes into the ground and digs up the dirt from the bottom up to prepare the dirt for the seeds to be planted.
   I have thought about lately how sometimes life throws curve balls, and you just have to go with it. It wasn't until later in the day when the plow analogy was used, that I realized how that was an applicable analogy to many aspects of life.
  No coffee pot in the morning? Seems like a tragedy, quite honestly. I am an avid coffee drinker and for many years, the first thing I am doing upon getting out of bed is drinking a cup of coffee. I always said I'd never make it without that coffee to start the day. But somehow, when the coffee pot breaks or there isn't one available upon the stumble out of bed, I manage to plow through anyhow and  be fine until I do find that cup of coffee a couple hours later in the day.
   Tired from lack of sleep? Plow through and get the job done regardless.
Sad from a life tragedy happening all around you? Plow through...
  Discouraged over an event or a thing not going as expected? Plow through....
 Dig deep, turn the dirt over , plow through, because plowing through prepares the way for beautiful seeds to be planted and grow and blossom.
   I've been told excuses are easy to make. And quite honestly, they are. How many of us can tell stories of co workers or family members who give excuses for not accomplishing something? worse yet, how many of us have been that person using those excuses?
  I battle depression. I take medication for it. But I don't let it stop me. I plow through it. I get up, I run, I go to a job I love, I have people who support me all around me, and  I smile. I plow through that obstacle of depression every day.
 Yes, there are times when life's excuses are relevant and not really along the excuse line. For 5K this year is definitely not in the place I would like for it to be. I could give a millions "reasons" why, or excuses even, but reality is, those reasons hold some relevancy.  But those reasons don't mean I quit and give up. I am going to plow through it. Play it out. Do it. Learn from it. Dig up the dirt so that it can grow to be better the next time around.   Plow through the excuses, the reasons, the discouragement and road blocks and let God take it, mold it, grow it and shape it into an even better one next year.
 Plowing through is not easy. If it were, everyone would do it. Nothing good ever comes easy. Rainbows after rain. Smiles after pain. Beautiful crops after a plowed up ground.
    Pressing on and plowing through. I choose to do that. Because I want to be a better person. I want to grow into who God is shaping me to be. I want to  blossom. But it takes plowing through the hard days to do that.
 One day at a time.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Perfect is Overrated

Perfect is Overrated.
 I found this quote, and I loved it, so I decided to place it here for "food for thought" for a moment: (confession: the quote comes from the movie, the Breakfast Club, which I admit to never having seen before, so I can't vouch for the movie, but I liked the quote) 

  Somewhere along the lines between childhood days of playing hide and go seek and frolicking endlessly with friends, we become adults who have a tendency to care all the time what others think of us... otherwise known as trying to portray perfect.
   Often times, in trying to portray perfect, trying to impress people, we actually lose ourselves.
 In the moment, we might think we are becoming something, but is that really who or what God intended for our path of life?
  Perhaps, but I'd say if we look deep enough.. or to make this personal and not so generic, If I look deep enough, I will see that in striving to impress others, I try to be someone I am not.
   Perfect is overrated.

 Somewhere along the line, whether it stems from society's images, a person's voice,  or expectation laid out there, it becomes easy to strive to impress rather than just be or do our natural self.

    Let me express some tangible examples.

   I need to lose weight... I'm too squishy....  becomes the mindset instead of I'm healthy. I eat right and take care of myself and the size I am is how God made me.  = trying to be a "perfect size" 

 I don't matter.... trickles in instead of the truth of I am important. He made me. My voice can make a difference. I can make a difference.

 I can't do anything right...... shouts over the reality, which is I make mistakes. But those mistakes mold me and teach me and make me a better me. Everyone messes up. =trying to be a "perfect person" 

I'll never be..... (insert whatever word here you tend to say... maybe it's a good mom, a good wife, a good boss, a better employee, someone who makes a difference....)  can replace the words which should be I know I am..... a good mom, a strong woman, a great employee, a person who can change/make a difference..... 

 You the get the point of what I'm saying here. I am a people pleaser, and often times, I lose sight of me in the process. I start trying to impress or please others, instead of pleasing the ONE who matters, and instead of being true to me.  The journey of this learning process is drudging me along, but mostly because I allow it to happen.
 I began this year with choosing the word different to be my word. Between winter days, unmet expectations, dreams that shift, bumps and bruises, I had pretty much forgotten that was my word. I started out 2015 saying  "look out 2015... I'm here! For real! "  but old habits die hard.
 Many would ask what this looks like for me on a daily basis. Or what I am going to do about these realizations each time. Perhaps that will be in a blog to come.
   But I leave today remembering that I want to be different.  Not a totally different me, per say. But different in the sense of being true to me, and not letting the people pleasing way I tend to have march into every one of my decisions. God first, in everything I do... is my prayer. And in so doing that, I can be different. And let go of perfect. 
   Perfect is OverRated.  Perfect is God's Job. I am perfectly imperfect, and that is a beautiful place.

   Romans 12:1-2, MSG version
  "So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life-your sleeping, eating, going to work, and walking around life-andplace it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants  from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."



Monday, May 18, 2015


Let's get back to Fitness-post Mondays, shall we? I didn't feel I had much to offer in this category lately. I've told you I am no fitness guru, so take my words or leave them. But I am passionate about what I do, and while that makes me no expert, it is more than what some can say for why they participate in fitness.
 So, while life requires breaks occasionally from the routines- be it a fitness routine or a writing routine- it's always good to return to the roots of the passion.
 So, here I sit. No fitness guru, just a passionate woman with a dream in her heart.

                   Today's Topic of Choice? Sweat.

  If you have ever seen me post-run, you will know I do not sweat much when I run. I do, but in the lesser seen places, not the obvious ones you see most people dripping from post-run/workout.
  I have had many people say to me when I finish a race, "You're barely sweating, you could do another 13 miles!"
 I have to laugh at that one, though I suppose I can understand the humor behind it.
   My girlfriends, with whom I will occasionally run, will be dripping wet post run, as if they stepped out of a rainstorm, and I look as dry as a fresh towel.

 But yesterday, I varied up my routine and took an afternoon run. While this was out of the normal for me, I loved it. The sun was warm, and the more I ran, the more the sweat formed on my skin. And I thought to myself how much I love sweating.
  Most women would never say that.
 But let me explain.

 Sweat lets me know I am working hard.

  Sweat produces results.

  Sweat is more than my body just saying "I'm hot", but it's telling me keep pushing... this is good.

 Sweat that trickles down my skin, the body's natural way of cooling itself,  is a feeling I wouldn't trade during a good workout. Sweat tells me I'm pushing my natural limits and I'm succeeding through those pushes.

   Sweat rolling down the skin lets me know I am not a quitter.

 Sweat teaches me that I am capable of doing more than my mind thought ever possible.
   Like finishing a race...
     Like doing one extra lift set....
        Like biking an extra mile...
            Like pushing up the hill...
               Like planking for an extra 10 seconds....
                 Like one more set of stairs....
 Sweat teaches me to keep going when the minds says to quit.
   Sweat feels good.

 Sweat may not be the prettiest accessory or the most feminine experience, but it comes well earned.

 That's the fitness advice I have for today... appreciate your sweat.  Let it remind you that you are doing a good job. And the next time a person says ( or you think to yourself perhaps) "Gross, you're sweaty!"  Smile and say "Thank you!" Because you earned it.



Friday, May 15, 2015

The Little Moments

As this week wraps up, I have to slow my pace to think about the little moments from the week. They're laced throughout, but the faster paced life is, the harder they are to see.
   I have to set my "thankful" book next to my pillow to remember to record thoughts before going to bed. I don't want to lose sight of the good moments, in the midst of chaos and a busy mind.
 the little things are what count.... like the grains of sand that make up a beach, the little moments built into each day make a lifetime of memories and joyful moments... if we stop to let them.

  So, even when life is challenging, pausing just for a few minutes each day truly helps to keep life in perspective.
    The little moments from this week....

- A cozy new chair perfect for a writing corner in my room
  - A girlfriend who loved on me with a fresh summery scent gift and words full of support
   - Amanda. She is a friendship that came from nowhere, but one God knew I would need. Someday the story of how our friendship came to be will be written here, but for now, I simply say she is a gift in my life. The way God crosses people's paths amazes me at times. (
       - Riding my bike to work. I truly got such joy from that, I believe it will become a summer time  habit, at least a couple of days a week.
          - Dry Shampoo. It sounds crazy- I thought so too, upon hearing about it. But then trying it has revolutionized my mornings (well, slightly anyway)
      - New opportunities. Not sure why we are always afraid of change, but new opportunities provide a chance for growth and proof of what we're made of.  Hard at times. But a blessing in disguise too.
     - Having a friend who's got my back. No matter what.
    - Sunshine. Bring it on. It makes me happy :)
      -Quote books. Cheesy, I know. But I love motivational quotes. LOVE them. I could own many of those and not get tired of them.
         - The feel of fresh cut, cool grass underneath my bare feet. At my dad's this week, truly one of my favorite places to be, I kicked off my shoes out of pure habit and just ran through the yard like I did when I was a kid. Freedom. Joy. And laughter. From the simple place of walking through the yard barefoot and returning to child like way for a brief moment.

  It's the little things that matter....

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


I recently took a poll (okay, when I say that, I mean I asked 10 or so people) what first came to mind when they thought of Abraham Lincoln.
  The most popular answer? His top hat and beard.
    I also heard -His assassination and the Gettysburg Address

I was curious as to what people would say when he came to mind.
  The reason behind the question was because when I think of Abraham Lincoln, I think of perseverance. I actually didn't know these facts about  him... they aren't what is really covered in history. (or if it was, I was not listening very well to my teacher.) But here are some bold facts I learned about Abraham Lincoln through more reading...
  - He failed in business in '31
    - He was defeated for state legislator in '32
-He tried another business in '33. It failed
  - His fiancee died in '35
     - He had a nervous breakdown in '36.
  - He was defeated in running for congress in '43
   - He tried again in '48.
 In '55 he tried for senate and lost
   - The next year he tried for VP and was defeated.
  -In '59 he ran for senate again and was defeated.
  But in 1860, Abraham Lincoln became the 16th president of the United States, and accomplished great moments for this country.

  What in the world made that man keep going? Seriously.... most of us would have thrown our hands up and quit. I would have.
   But even though the man had a nervous breakdown, he kept persevering. He did not give up. I truly love this story. I don't know all the details of it, but through it, I am motivated.  And it translates into my life today.

  So let me get real for a moment here. I have some pessimists that exist in my life (don't we all??)  And I have been told to give up on my dream. I have been told to quit putting on the 5K I so love doing, because I have hit obstacles with it.  The event which is a dream in my heart to grow the scholarship in memory of mom. I know that there comes a time and a place to listen to all the opinions and evaluate what is true and what is not. But then those have to be sifted and left to be just that- a person's opinion. What matters is that I seek God in all I am doing and if He asks me to put on this event to the best of my ability, I will continue to do so. I will push through the discouragements that come with it and the frustrations. And yes, the pessimism as well.
   God has given me this dream of using the 5K to help nursing students through school. I did not go to college, but upon once considering it, nursing was high on my list. I watched countless nurses be used, in not only my mom's life through her cancer journey, but my life, too. A few of those nurses have stuck in my heart and mind forever. I cannot be a nurse... it's not my calling. But, I can use my talents and gifts of event planning and 5K to help other's continue their schooling to become nurses. To fulfill the dream that's planted in my heart.
  Not for my glory, but for His. 
The nurses we help with the scholarships we give, which are only a result of the 5K. I am not a nurse. But.... God has given me other abilities which can tie into helping nurses.
 I never thought this would be a part of my life story. I never imagined my mom not being here as part of my story. But look at how God has and can use that.... to bless other people.
 I love putting on the 5K. some tell me I make it about me. But only One person knows my heart... and while He is teaching much every year through putting on the event which is approaching in less than 20 days (yikes!) I know without a doubt, this is a dream and a calling He has given me....for now. bumps, bruises and all....
   I never thought I would be a 5K director. It might be the smallest one out there. And while the numbers are a big push to an event such as mine,  I am choosing to let the focus be on God. And just do the event to the best of the ability which He has given me. And the right amount of people, just who God sees fit, will be at my event. I never thought I would be an event planner.
 But I bet Abraham Lincoln never thought he would set slaves free, either.

 He had a nervous breakdown.... I have an anxiety disorder.
    He failed many times before succeeding. I will not look at these smaller years as failure, but as opportunity to grow and to keep pushing towards the dream of a scholarship that will give for a life time to help nurses be able to carry the light of God into the world where I cannot.
     His fiancee died.  My mom died.  

He became president.... me.... well, that's for God to decide. I am not looking for limelight or to be the biggest event around or to be known all over. I am simply looking to make a difference for the One who counts.
    He had a faith.... I have a faith. Weak at times, but God says in the book of Matthew all I need is faith the size of a mustard seed.
        I am excited to see how He will use the event this year to shape me, to shape those who may attend, and to shape the scholarship that will hopefully have an impact on giving to nurses who can serve Him for generations to come.  I am not giving up . I will persevere.

*While this blog is about what I am learning and about persevering and not about my event per say, if you want to know more, to sign up for it, or to donate to the cause, you can learn more here

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Little Moments.... of memories with Mom

I have sat many times in the last week in front of my computer to write, but essentially stared blankly at the screen, thoughts swarming, but not formulating well enough to put down. Sometimes, life is just like that.... swarmingly (do you like my made up word?) busy, but not really slowing down well enough to take it in. 'Tis that season for me.
 The goal is to take some time this weekend to formulate those thoughts a lot better.
 Obviously, with mother's day approaching, my mom, the absence of her and the memories of her, are strong on my heart and mind.  So while my "little moments" blog tends to be a time I sit and write about precious little moments from the week, today, it's dedicated to a plethora of little moments I recall with my mom over the years that make me smile.
  I could likely write pages of these, as my mom was full of creative times that bring a smile to my face upon remembrance. But for today, here are just a few.....

 - Sitting on the kitchen counter, stirring cookie batter with my mom (and sampling it), countless times, while we baked cookies (Perhaps why I love to bake so much....)
  - Cups of coffee shared over conversation
     - Countless hands of dutch blitz played, among the many games our family would play
- My mom being there for me for the birth of both of my children
    - Little notes my mom would leave me in my lunch box over the years, or notes she would stick on my desk or tuck into a notebook for me
     -Snoopy. Few people know my love of Snoopy, but my mom did. And she always gave me Snoopy card every birthday and many times "just because". I still smile when I see Snoopy, though I rarely get Snoopy things any more because no one really gets that like my mom did.
       - Big hats. I never wore them, but my mom would wear them occasionally. You know the ones I mean? The big Kentucky Derby type hats... or "tea time" hats.
   - Books. My mom instilled in me a love for reading. Mom would stay up for hours into the night because she simply could not put a book down. (I do not have that same gene, as I love to read but often fall asleep reading instead because the busy life does that...)  Mom would read stories to us always growing up. She also told story after story. She was great at making them up and keeping us kids occupied with them.
     - Songs. Mom had a song for everything. Literally. She made up songs to memorize scripture, to help with cleaning up the house, to be silly and make us laugh, to accomplish something... she would make them up or she would pull one out of her childhood and sing it to us. I loved all my mom's songs. Evidence of the joy within her
    - Fresh lemonade. Not the hand squeezed kind, but nonetheless refreshing, crisp and cool lemonade is a strong memory in my mind. Mom would make this for us or for our "summer hired hands" on the farm, and they would sit under the trees in front of the house and have lemonade (or tea) on a hot afternoon.
       - Breakfast. I have an experience few can probably say they had. We ate breakfast together nearly every morning before school. Sometimes it was hot cereal, like oatmeal or CoCoa wheats; sometimes just cereal boxes on the table. Every now and then it was eggs and sausage. And on Sunday mornings, often times it was muffins or box donuts... but we grew up eating breakfast together, and then hurried out the door. What a beautiful memory to have.
        - My support system. My mom was always there for me. Whether it was to watch me sit the bench all my junior high years in the sports I tried to play, to drive me everywhere (I was not a sit at home child... I was always on the go between friends, church, band, drama.... ), my plays, my band concerts, my children's births,  and in later years... all the events i became involved with, including my races, relay for life, and so on... the list could go on, but mom was always there.
 The list could certainly go on. My life is full of little moments Mom provided me. I am so grateful for those. They make me smile every time I recall them. Mother's Day is a bittersweet time for me. There are tears shed in missing my mom as much as there are smiles had over memories recalled.
    I am grateful for the many, many moments I had with my mom over the years.

Friday, May 1, 2015

What I learned in April

The calendar turns today to a new month, but it's always good to reflect on the previous days, if even just for a moment, in order to move forward in a positive fashion. I love closing up a month by sharing what I've learned, but I will tell you  that upon sitting down to write this one, to tell you what I learned in April, I have had a harder time putting together my thoughts.
  Perhaps because April flew by so fast, the lessons or newfound points of life I  learned are actually ones I have to stop and slow down to ponder a little. So, without further adieu, here are a few bullet points of what I learned in April....

1.  My friend Julie writes a beautiful blog. She said in one of her blogs this month that she doesn't say  goodbye, she says, "See you soon..."  And I loved her thought process on this.
    So, I too, have begun to view "goodbyes" as "see you soon" instead. April closed by saying "See you soon" to our adopted college daughter. She has spent the last 3 years coming over, eating with us, hanging out, house sitting for us, enduring our life struggles and pretty much becoming a part of our family. Watching her graduate is special, but strange to think she is now moving on.... but it's not goodbye... it's see you soon.

2.   I do not have to prove myself to others
  This is a hard-learned lesson. I may have to learn and re-learn this time and again (though I hope not) but April was a pivotal point for me in this aspect. I had some humbling lessons, although most would find them humorous rather than humbling, but they were times that I realized how much I am at times trying to prove myself to others , at the risk of transforming into someone I am not. I had a small "accident" in the truck, I fell in the middle of the store,  I was called out in some silly ways, and I had some doctor appointments that were, in essence, results of stress related factors. All of those events over the course of the last month helped me come to the place of this lesson. I do not live life to prove myself to others. I just need to be true to me. And I live for an audience of ONE. So long as my life is pleasing to Him first, that is what matters.  And when I live in that mindset, and am true to me, I am at my best.

3. I love talking to random people
 Ok, so this isn't a new found lesson per say... I have always known this about myself. I am a people person. But I love talking to runners when i go to the expos. I love talking to someone who is having a bad day and watching that day turn around just by being someone who is taking time to listen. Many times that is all a person needs. But my favorite conversation from the month that sticks in my head is a random conversation I had with a young mom. She had this little toddler girl, who had ice cream all over her face. I stopped and told her "I'm sure you've heard this many times, but just enjoy these moments... they go so fast (as I pointed to my almost teenage daughter). Don't worry about how messy her shirt is... one day you will wish for those precious days back."  And her response nearly made me cry... you see, you never know what a random person might need to hear or might need to say in response. So, take time to smile or say hello, even if you don't know the person (so long as this is done in the right fashion, mind you...)  I love conversations and moments like that.

4. Budgets are hard
   I grew up learning great lessons about money. I have at times, strayed from these foundational habits. But lately, we have returned to them. And it's hard. But, that being said, I am loving the lessons it's teaching my kids. They are raising money for camp and learning the value of the dollar and hard work. I am learning that I don't always (ok, pretty often rarely do actually) need things. they are more wants. And if I say no and let it go, I usually forget about it. Returning to these habits is challenging, but so so good.

5. Dance in the Rain
   The analogy of dancing in the rain stands strong in my mind. I have been embracing this concept as the month of April has gone along. Dance in the rain. Be thankful at all times. Find the beauty in the storm. Smile in the midst of pain. Dance in the rain.

6. Quality, not Quantity
   It is so challenging not to focus on numbers at times. Especially in event planning. But I have been learning it's not about quantity, it's about quality. And remaining in that thought process can be a challenge for me as people ask "how many..." or "how much " in regards to certain aspects of my events, and my response can at times leave a person challenging my worth, or leaving me with words of failure... but those are not thoughts or words for me to embrace. Because quality is more important that quantity. Again... I perform for an audience of One first and foremost.

 April has been a beautiful month, but I welcome the doors of May opening.  No doubt there will be more lessons, but also beautiful times to come in this month.