Monday, October 31, 2016

What I Learned in October

October is closing tonight. It has been a full month, but a good one.
 There was some travel, some deeper friendships formed, good conversations, new foods tried and another half marathon in the books.
 So what did I learn this month? Here are a few of the random things I learned...

 1. Elephants travel to a destination when they are ready to die.
    How did I not know this?? It's really kind of fascinating to me. An elephant knows when it is going to die and it prepares by taking a journey to a destination (how does it know where to go? That I don't know.) Is it a myth that I'm believing or is this really true and I just missed it all these years? I think it's cool.

 2. This is Us
  My new favorite TV show. I won't try to recap the show for you. If you are so inclined, google it. But I will tell you, it's worth the watch. To me, it's real. And I am all about real. It's beautiful. And it makes me cry - a good cry- because often times I can relate to some type of story they are sharing in an episode. Good job, NBC.

 3. Coloring is Soothing
  So, I read where coloring can help ease anxiety. This sounds childish and crazy, but I am here to tell you, it is true. I always loved coloring as a child; always enjoyed it with my kids as toddlers. But as they have grown, it's been a while since we have colored. Well, when I read that, I decided why not give it a try? And low and behold... there is truth in it. Coloring is soothing. It may not make the anxiety disappear and it may not be accessible for use any time I am battling it, but I will take it when I can get it. Plus, I get pretty pictures out of it ;)

4. RunLites
  For all my running friends, this is my new discovery and it is awesome! I don't like to hold things when I run and I don't like bulky things on my side, hands, or head. So, this is a very cool item to have. I promote it 100%. They are little gloves that slip on and have l.e.d .lights that slide right in. It's like having headlights on my hands. I don't feel them, but they sure light my way! They aren't bulky or sweaty; they just are there. They charge with a USB cord and come with a one year warranty. I own the "sling" which means it fits over my fingers, but when it gets colder out, it'll slip easily over my gloves. Safety 101! I highly suggest this if you run in the dark. (And as you know, I do.)
 Check out their website Here


 5. Steel Making
  When in Bethlehem, PA, I learned a lot about the history of our nation and steel making. Bethlehem was especially known for doing this during WWII. Looking at the statues across the city, seeing the old steel "mills" (for lack of a better word) and reading the various history plaques around the city was very interesting.

 Tomorrow we enter November. Thanksgiving- my favorite holiday. I look forward to a new month, one day at a time. Happy Fall, Ya'll.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

One Day at a Time

I title this blog "One Day at a Time" but sometimes I lose sight of that statement. This week I had a conversation that brought me back to that mindset.

 I guess the phrase is often use in the world of AA, and for that matter, anyone who may struggle with an addiction. They learn to live life and celebrate it one day at a time. For me, the phrase became a part of my mantra when my mom was dying. I can vividly remember sitting by her bedside, after she'd been moved to having hospice care at home, and wondering if it would be my last moment with her. But in that moment, I also realized how much time I was wasting worrying if it was last moment with her instead of actually enjoying the fact that she was still there. That day became a time when "one day at a time" became a phrase for me.
 But as life moves along, it can easily get lost in the dust. Because, if you know me, I am a planner. I am a goal setter, And yes, I am a worrier, too. All of those things come with a mind full of thoughts about the next day, month, and even years.
 Now, there is nothing wrong with being a goal setter. Or a dreamer. Those are part of what make up who I am. And I like that about myself. But, I had to stop  and think about it this week a little. As good as goal setting is, I know that I often get lost in the "what if" scenarios. Or the chaos of what will be happening when. I get caught up in all of the possible future events and I lose sight of my day today.
 I believe there is balance to any good thing. I can plan ahead for a half marathon race, which is a good idea. But, when I wake up that day, rather than focusing on what is to come at the end of the week, it may be a better idea for me to focus on what I need to do that day for training. Otherwise I lose sight of progress I am making. A 3 mile run may not feel like much in light of the fact that at the end of the week I have a 6 mile run planned. However, that 3 mile run that day plays just as big of a factor in my training as the 6 mile one. One day at a time....
Or how about my schooling endeavors right now? When I think about the long road ahead, it's slightly overwhelming. I don't know how I will do it once it comes to being time to being in classes during the day. I'm not always sure how I am going to afford the classes. And... I have many years to go with this goal. BUT if I focus on what needs done today, that's a little less overwhelming and a little more accomplishing towards that end result. If I waste my energy worrying about how I'm going to do all of it, I'm wasting time accomplishing what actually needs accomplished today (Like starting the rough draft of my research paper, which perhaps should take precedence over this blog, but my brain needed a break.) One day, one assignment at a time....

 Or life at home. I have no idea what the future days will bring. It could change in the blink of an eye. The kids are growing up. Life is busy and moving full force ahead. When I start focusing on all the what-ifs, my head gets a little congested. I need to focus on today. Like the fact that the kids and I are going to go enjoy some coffee at Barnes and Noble this afternoon and shop for books. Three of my favorite things: my kids, coffee and books! If I dwell on what is to come (or not to come) I lose sight of the moments I can take in today. I need to remember to enjoy today.

 This does not mean I can't plan or set goals or dream. (It does mean I should work on not worrying so much...) 
 The book of Matthew says "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour your life?...But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." Matthew 6:25-34

 I am far from mastering this. I think I have to remind myself repeatedly, and have since I was young, to not worry about tomorrow. But the conversation I had this week helped remind me about living life one day at a time. With goals, yes. But without missing the here and now moments. Do what is right for today. Every day. One day at a time.

Monday, October 17, 2016

RW Half Marathon 3 of 3

I don't know that I have ever dragged out a blog on so many days in relation to one race. I realize it may seem a bit dramatic and unnecessary, but when my head is full, this is what I do and how I process.
 So now that the weekend is over and I am home again, I wanted to give the actual race recap.

 The whole weekend in and of itself was a great experience for me. A lot of fun, a lot of learning for me through observation and conversation and a lot of good memories made.The town is built on a place of history, where steel was made and produced especially during WW2, but all through our nation's history. It was really neat to learn about the city and see the historic buildings.
  When race day came along, I was ready.

 In this town of Bethlehem, PA, which sounds like small town USA but really is not, there is no flat ground. In looking at the elevation chart, I knew that this was going to be a race full of hills (let's be honest, compared to Ohio, they were mini-mountains) but you can't change it, so you just gotta embrace it.  Once we got to the city, driving the streets told me even more about what I was going to experience.
 But I was ready. Perhaps not hill ready, but mentally ready, to run, no matter what.

 The morning was absolutely perfect as far as temperatures go. High 40s. Not overcast. No wind. Absolutely beautiful.  There ended up being very many less runners than I had expected. This race had a little over 2,000 participants for the half marathon. Small compared to many events I have attended and run, but often times smaller is better.

 In my head, I wanted the goal time of 2:30. Not a PR, but not too bad considering what my pace has been in training. However, I knew it was going to be a challenge with all the hills. (Little did I know how much it would challenge me.)

 The first mile was pretty easy- partly downhill and around a little park. But then we began a climb, over a bridge and around construction (side note: Bethlehem, PA infrastructure was pretty bad and there was construction and closed streets everywhere. Never have I seen such bad construction or crazy drivers. Literally.)
 That being said, what had been discussed amongst the runners was the mile 3, 5, and 7 would be the bad hills and then it was "all good."  Guess what? It was never "all good." Meaning... there was pretty literally never a flat stretch on the course. And I am not talking dinky hills here.
 Mind you,  I didn't hate them, knowing hating them wouldn't change them. Hills don't scare me. But by mile 8 I was thinking to myself that it would be nice to have a small stretch that was not a hill.

 Anyway, I was on par for that 2:30 roughly through the 10K split. Here and there I would lose a little ground, but then make it up. However, by mile 7, I could not maintain it. I dropped about 20 seconds almost per mile at that point. As frustrating as that was, I also knew I was giving it my all so it was ok. We crossed through the historic downtown Bethlehem, which was pretty neat, full of old shops and some brick streets.
 We ran through some neighborhoods. And as we came down mile 11, we began to make our way towards the finish line, which was lined with giant steel stacks that were somehow beautifully historic and a very cool site to take in.

 I was bound and determined by mile 12 that I could do it in 2:33, but half of that mile ended up being a climb, and I just couldn't make the pace I was trying to keep. The people (to whom I referred in my blog yesterday) kept me going , but it was still a challenge, to say the least. As I turned the bend towards the finish line, where I can usually have a little burst left, I was pushing with all I had in me. It was nice to have Rob at the finish line, waiting on me, knowing that he would understand this run more than most anyone could. I crossed that line in 2:37.

It was not my best race, but it was one of my best in the sense that I gave it all I had, left it all on the line, and knew that in spite of the challenges I faced, I did it. It was a good event. Not my favorite, but nonetheless a new experience where I learned more about myself, about the running industry, and about my future running goals.

 I wouldn't go back and run it again... but I am glad I had the chance to do it this weekend. It was a fun run, as fun goes, and the weather was perfect. I was able to learn new things about the running community and industry. I experienced a new town. I ate some good food. And all in all, I had a good race.

  A few highlights to share:
    We ate a place called the Bolete Inn. It was a restored 1790 Stagecoach stop. The food was tremendous, so much so that words won't do it justice. The atmosphere was neat. And it was worth it.      
     We visited a little cafe called The Lodge. Truth be told, the coffee wasn't all that great. However, I fell in love with the little shop because their whole purpose was to help people have stability who fight mental illness. They had paintings of people like Robin Williams and Abe Lincoln, who fought deprsesion/anxiety. And the newspaper clippings on the wall told stories of the place. To me, it was inspiring. And completely relatable.
    We saw new things inside the expo and observed interesting people.

 For me, every race, every travel brings on new learning. And I do love to learn. I am not going to critique the race itself, that's not what I do. I simply try to take in and learn. And share how I grow through all of it.
  One race, one travel, one story, one step, one day at a time....
Runner's World Expo
Art Steel Statue, pavers had steel worker's names.
The Expo Center

The view outside the expo center.. you can kind of see the mountain

Hustle and Bustle of the finish line

Sunday, October 16, 2016

RW Half Marathon Part 2 of 3

Today I will run the Runner's World Half Marathon.
 Today... and with a goal of doing so everyday... I will celebrate progress.
The progress I have made physically, spiritually, emotionally and as an all around individual this last year over the last several months has been significant for me. Today's run is about remembering how far I have come, learning to believe in myself in a deeper way and thank and recognize those who have played a role in that over the last year.
  As this came to me recently on one of my long runs, I ran a little faster because I have gratitude in my heart for each of these individuals. Much could be said about them, but as I go in to my run, while I push towards a good race, I also will thank God for these people as part of my path  as the miles tick away.

 Mile 1- My Colombia team mates.
   Not enough words can be said about each of these people. By name: Michael, Paula, James, Eric, Paula Lou, Barb, Angie, Gil, Keith, and Ed. Each one of them played a role in helping me grow. I have written blogs about them, so I won't overload this one, but they all became special. This team made a difference in helping me see who I am. They loved me, laughed with me, cried with me, prayed for me and helped me see Jesus in all new ways. I am forever changed because of my interaction with them and how they taught me about life, love, and the Lord. With this team, for the first time since I'd lived in Ohio again, I felt a huge part of something. A few have become lifetime friends for me. You guys know who you are and the fact that you play a role in my every day life today. I cannot say enough about how they have become a huge piece of my progress forward.

 Mile 2- My Colombian Family
  Tia, Paola, Yuleida, Sol, Mileth, Christina, Christian. Each of these individuals is unique. Each one has played a part in reshaping me this year. All of them come from a place of little to nothing. All of them are fighters for what they believe in. All of them live a way of life that I, as an American, will never be able to fully grasp. And all of them have true happiness radiating from the inside out because of their relationship with God. They helped me realize that who I am is beautiful. They have helped me grow and become strong. And they have helped me appreciate life on a deeper level. As with each of these miles and each of these individuals, I cannot say enough about how my little Colombian family has come to be a part of my heart.

 Mile 3- Sharon E.
  Sharon and I have only been friends for one year. I met her through my job and we connected. She was a runner, but she has become so much more in my life. She supported my mission trip with great interest, prayer and investment. She has been there for me when I needed to talk out life. She sends random gifts in the mail to me, which means a great deal to me because each little thing she sends me seems to be just what I need at that time. She knows me well, even though we've only been friends for a year. Faith connects us, even though miles separate us. She helps me believe in me and she helps me find my voice sometimes. She is a special piece of my journey in 2016.

 Mile 4- Ed and Aunie
  I had to couple these 2 together only because if I don't, I will have to run a full marathon to share the various people who have played a role in the last year. Ed I have known for 3 years. We speak a few times a year and he comes in to Dayton once a year for the AF Marathon. As time has gone on, he has led an example that I have come to admire and learn from. He leads strongly, though not loudly. He is confident in who he is and what his standards are. He is loving and loved by all around him. He has most taught me to fight for me. To fight through the bad days. To be a stronger woman because of the rocky patches. And most of all, to not let others look down on me, even if I view myself as the underdog. He probably has no idea he's done all that just from our brief interactions, but I am a deep thinker and an observer, and I admire his example. He has played a role this year.
 Aunie lives miles away, too. But she is so encouraging. Her dedication to her faith and her fitness inspire me to be more dedicated to mine. When I haven't believed in my goals, Aunie has helped tell me it's ok. Her determination to never quit has set an example for me to do the very same. As she has pounded out miles through her races, even when she was exhausted and wanted to quit.... I will pound out mine tomorrow, too. And celebrate the fact that God has placed her in my life

 Mile 5- Janet H.
  Janet is a special woman in my life. She has supported my journey every step of the way. She knows my flaws and my strong points. She loves me through them all. She has prayed for me and listened to me, cried with me, and laughed with me. She has probably been my longest standing friend here in Ohio since we moved here. She doesn't always understand my battles, but she is always there to support me nonetheless. And honestly, she is one of the very few people I have reached out to in my darkest of days when I have had life-threatening thoughts. This year she has helped me see the real me and helped me grow more into that woman. She celebrates my progress. She helps me from going backwards. She is a strong beam of support in my journey.

 Mile 6- Steck and Tammy
   These 2 have come to be incredibly special people in my life. I had been praying for some friends and then I stumbled into a TRX class. Little did I know what that class and those people would come to mean to me. Tammy makes me laugh so hard; Steck is hilarious as well. Together they make a great team. In time they became great friends to me. Steck is the instructor of TRX and he pushes me to limits I didn't know could be possible. He has believed in me unlike many have and he has celebrated my progress just as much as I have. He has pushed me physically, but he encourages me emotionally more than he knows. He has helped me reach strength I didn't know I had. And when I reach one point he pushes me to another, all the while encouraging and celebrating it.  He is more than an instructor, he is my friend. Tammy, his wife, is beautiful. She makes me laugh. She has cried with me. She has listened to my anxieties and fears. She has helped me see myself in a different light. She understands me and even remembers what some of my bad day triggers are. She is funny as all get out, but fierce when need be and helps me find that same fighter inside me. She has become one in whom I can confide. I had no idea when I stumbled into that class that it would become such an answer to prayer in my life. Those 2 have played a huge role in my progress over the last 6 months, and I will run a mile for them.

 Mile 7- Aaron and Meghan
  There is no such thing as coincidence. Finding the TRX class was a God-given move. I met Aaron there, and through Aaron, I met Meghan. Both have come to play a huge role in my life in the last few months. Aaron's compassion touched a place in my heart that needed help. He has encouraged me to keep loving when I've wanted to quit. He's prayed for me when no one else had asked that for months. He has high five and encouraged and helped me grow. He's the best in the class and so he pushes me to be stronger physically too. But one of the greatest things is that he has become my friend ... and my pastor. He encourages me spiritually. As I'd been praying for a new place to call home along with my family, Aaron played  a role I didn't expect. And our family has shifted to become part of his church family. He leads with love. He's asked if I'm ok on days when others had no idea. And he's a God-given gift in helping me learn to celebrate progress, even when I am fighting through tough times.
  Meghan also is from the church. To say how our friendship unfolded takes too many pages, but I am thankful of the outreach she does through social media which led me to meeting her. We've become coffee friends, running friends, and she's become another one in whom I can confide. She's listened gracefully and supported faithfully. I am so thankful that she has been placed in my path. she lives Jesus and helps me to do the same.

 Mile 8- Cheri
  Cheri is special. She works down the hall and many days I have found myself in her office in tears. Or we have shared laughs. But more often than not, she is listening to me on my bad days. She's been there for my meltdowns and she's helped pick me up. We've shared races together. We've prayed for each other. We've discussed religion and faith and marriage and kids. She is strong and I admire her strength. She has helped with my 5K and she has helped me know that I'm ok on days I feel I'm falling apart. She has become a faithful, special, dear friend. I am better because Cheri is in my life.

 Mile 9- Rob
  Rob plays a unique role in my life. He's my boss, but he is also my friend. I have learned so much from watching Rob manage in how to better manage things myself. I have learned skills that I don't think I could have learned elsewhere and he has truly taken time to invest in my growth. He pushes me to be better, to find myself, to be me and to keep going. He listens and he guides. He is a great leader and has helped me to develop those same qualities in my own style. He's silly and fun but so hard working and determined. He has taught me to keep going. He has brought out the fighter in me and helped me throw the punches when need be. He allows me to be deep and tries to understand the crazy side of me, too. He's not always on the front page of what's going on with my growth, but he's always there to encourage it and push it one step forward. I am stronger because of how he's helped me grow.

 Mile 10- Michelle
 My cousin Michelle and I are a few years apart. We live states apart. And we never spent a ton of time together growing up. But in the last year we have grown super close. Her mom, my aunt, is one of the few women close to me who truly understand my journey because she has known me my entire life. Somehow, through all that, as my aunt and cousin came to visit this summer, Michelle and I connected in a new way. We now talk every day. We confide in one another. We push each other to keep going and keep growing. She has cheered me on. We have worked on fitness in a sense together and we have worked on life together over the last few months. It came as a surprise to me, but Michelle has come to play a large role in helping me celebrate progress and keep going.

 Mile 11- Michael
  This blog cannot go without my writing about how my family has helped my progress. Michael and I have our bumps and rocky spots. But marriage is probably one of the biggest triggers of growth- be it through good days or bad. He puts up with my moods, endures my long hours training, watches me plug away in school and picks up the pieces when I cannot. I love him and I would not be the same person were he not in my life.

 Mile 12- Elizabeth
 My daughter is growing in to a young woman now. In a few short years, she will be graduating. As she grows, and this year especially, she has helped me to grow as well. She challenges me at times with her spiritual questions. She wants to know things that I don't know and I have to look in to to give her a sufficient answer. She openly shares with me, which helps me to answer things for her that I am afraid to answer for myself at times. She likes to hug as much as I do. We are both crazy emotional at times, but it's like looking in a mirror some days, which honestly helps me to push to be better. She strives to be the best at what she does and she inquires about life as deeply as I do. She reminds me of my mom in her looks and mannerisms. And she is breaking out of her shell, encouraging me to keep doing the same.

 Mile 13- Joseph
 I saved my son for my last mile. Because this year he has pushed me to a new level of growth and progress. As he enters slowly into becoming a young man, I am watching him transform. He's figuring himself out and he's doing it mostly on his own. We have had new conversations this year that will be ones to sit in my soul for a lifetime. He loves God and wants others to love God, too. He's strong but he is sensitive. And he is a fighter, not a quitter. As he has run cross country, I have watched him grow leaps and bounds and it has inspired me. I had to miss his last meet this weekend for work, but he got his best time ever, which only pushes me to want to do well today. I want him to be proud of me, as I am of him. He took 11 minutes off his time this season. And he did it by not quitting. The truth is, he came in last place at every meet. But he never cared. He never quit. He never even let that bother him. He pushed through the tough feelings he had and he kept going. Never once did I see him walking. He kept a steady pace. He pushed. He fought. And he will help me do the same through this last mile. I am a proud mama,  yes. But I believe sometimes it's ok to be that. He has helped me grow this year and in my last mile, I will fight through and I will celebrate him and I will celebrate the progress... and the finish of the race

 All of these people have played a large role in my growth this year. In the days that I want to quit, some of them have been the only ones to cheer me on, in their own way. Today I run.
 Today I celebrate progress.
  Today I thank God for these people.
   Today I will finish strong.

 I don't have any clue what my time will be. This race is HILLY. But I know that really, I've already come out a winner. Even this weekend I have allowed myself to see new concepts and that has pushed me further. So... here's to another half marathon and the celebration of progress.....
 Stay tuned tomorrow for a recap.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Runner's World Half Marathon Experience Part 1 of 3

Sunday I will run the Runner's World Half Marathon.
 Runner's World is the mecca magazine of all of the running industry. Anyone who is an avid runner or works in the industry knows what the big name means.

 I have had the opportunity to be in the area of Bethlehem, PA for a few days now, exploring the sites, tasting some amazing food, experiencing the most absolutley ridiculous traffic I have ever seen and learning more about myself and about some others. This has by far been one of my favorite expos to attend. (Likely for various reasons.)
 That being said, Sunday I will get to experience the run itself, and I have been looking forward to this race for weeks.
 In part because it is the run put on by the daddy of all the runner's writings (did that make sense? I was looking for the best way to verbalize that.) and in part because this training journey has become one unexpected for me. I want to share a little about it as I endeavor in to this race. And after I run, I will recap the run and the event, along with pictures, for you. For now, I want to share about this journey.

 If you have followed my writings, you have followed the fact that each race comes to mean something along the way. The training journey becomes more of what matters than the race itself. Yes, the race is somewhat euphoric and always leaves me with memories. But the truth is, it is what I learn along the way in my training that teaches me more and what matters the most to me.

 I tend to learn more about my body and my own self in my months of training.
  For this particular race, it didn't start out with a meaning. This race was about being healthy (we began a low carb way of eating); this race was about running the Runner's World Half; this race was about running- it wasn't supposed to be about me and a life journey.
 However, as is the case with most of my runs, it turned in to a new journey.

 Let me explain a little about what this race means to me.
    This year, 2016, has been one of tremendous personal growth for me. While those who have been in my life a long time can maybe see it, the truth is, it has been a very internal journey. But many have played a role without even knowing it.
 This year I have had the opportunity to go to Colombia- an immense eye-opening time that brought me home a new woman. This year has introduced my life to college with a goal I have always wanted to pursue: my degree in Spanish. And this year has provided time for me to also  grow from work experiences.

 This year has also been one I have battled anxiety at its worst. I have wanted to quit. I have faced days I didn't think I could make it from the pure exhaustion that comes from fighting off the thoughts and emotions and negative concepts that go hand in hand with the illness. I have fought for my worth, my sanity, and my own beautiful self in an array of ways that will never be known to others. I don't talk about it much because it tends to overwhelm those around me. But every day I have fought hard to keep allowing myself to become a better me, to be the best me, to not give in to the desperate need to just curl up and quit.
  But I am a fighter. By the strength of God, I keep going. He gives me the will and the way to push through those times. He is who and what keeps me from crumbling an quitting.
  Because I am a fighter. The darkness of anxiety is very real in my world every day; something so few can really understand. But I stand and I fight.

   So, this race to me has come to mean Celebrate Progress. And Keep Fighting!

 You see, this year has brought me anxiety, yes. But this year has also brought for me the most pivotal growth I have ever experienced. I believe in part because I am fighting anxiety, I am growing stronger. Because I am weak and leaning into the power of God, I become better. Because I have these bad days, I have learned to be more grateful and celebrate the good days all the more. And there are a handful of key people who have played a role in helping me through these bad times. Most of these people don't know it, because often they are not involved in a conversation with me as to how much of a difference they play. But these people I will soon mention have come to be ones who help me celebrate my progress.
 And when they celebrate my progress, I am able to also celebrate. I am able to see more clearly. I am able to push through a bad day because they have helped me see a bright moment. These people I want to mention are God-given to me. Part of my path, part of my journey. Part of helping me fight.

 And so that is what this race has come to mean to me a little bit: It's about celebrating my progress. And More so than that, it's about celebrating the people who have helped make a difference for me in getting there. So every mile I run, I run for me, yes. Because I want to keep fighting. And I want to continue to grow and become better.
 But every mile I run on Sunday, I will be running for someone specific. I will pray for that person during that mile. I will celebrate the gift they are to me. I will remember how they have helped me grow through this year. I will recognize how they have helped me progress. And I will run a mile for them.
  For 13.1 miles I will celebrate progress. But I will celebrate even more those who have helped me get there. Tomorrow I will share with you who those people are. And then come Monday, I will be able to give you a recap of the race and of the weekend's experiences.
 Oh, I'm going to run through these very hilly streets with all I have in me... but no matter what the outcome is... I will celebrate my progress.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


It's time to share #TheLittleMoments
 These are the things that add up in a week or two that could easily be dismissed, but when reflection hits, these are the moments that make me smile.
  1. Cards!!!
   If you know me, you know I LOVE cards.  Yes, love them. They make me smile and I read and re-read them until they are worn thin. You can skip gifts- all I need is a card with some words that are meaningful.
  This week I got a card in the mail (at work) from someone who essentially thanked me for going above and beyond. I wouldn't know the person if I met them on the street, but apparently I made a difference. Well, likewise back to that person. She didn't have to take time to write me a card, but she did. And it sits on my desk as a reminder. (Sharing that is certainly not to say anything "yay" about me. It's to highlight a moment in my week that someone else created for me.)

2. Planks! And my TRX People!!
   You guys, have you ever done a plank? They are hard! Really hard. Have you ever tried to do one in TRX straps? Double hard. I have been in this TRX class now for 7 months. The people in there have become my family. Literally. I love that group. They encourage me and inspire me. They make me laugh like silly and challenge me to be a better me. They push my competitive buttons and help me to grow. I will talk more about this next week. But this week we had plank challenge. Every month we do this, and each month we are to gauge our progress. The plank challenge lasts for 3 minutes. I always said "I'll never make it to 3 minutes." It's HARD. But this week, this month... I DID IT!! And I'm totally doing a little dance over it still.
  Last month I was at 2 minutes, so my goal this month was 2:20. Steck calls it out every 10 seconds. As he kept calling it out somewhere in me I got a ridiculous determination to keep going, keep planking. And I made it for 3 minutes! My arms were shaking, my abs were screaming, but the smile I carried the rest of the day made it all totally worth it.
 The encouragement they all gave me made me feel on top of the world.
 Great workout! Great people. Great progress.

 3. Sunshine!
    You also may know I am a warm-weather gal. I thrive when it is sunny and warm. This week we've had a little "indian summer" and I am totally soaking it in. I know it's going to pass quickly, but while it is here, it makes me smile.

4. Best Friends
  So last week I texted my best friend, Kristen, in Florida and asked her about having a phone date on Sunday. It had been a while. Much to my surprise, she texted back and said "How about a REAL date??" (or something along those lines.) She and Doug were in Ohio for the weekend and we were able to get together for a few hours. Doug and Michael are pretty much one and the same, which allows me and Kristen to have an understanding for each other unlike many can experience. Special friends. Special Surprise. Special new memories

 5. Bubbles
 I kind of forgot how much fun bubbles are. I used to enjoy blowing bubbles with the kids when they were young.  I have always found them .... childlike and refreshing. I forgot how much they make me smile until at Joseph's cross country meet, the varsity team was cheering at one spot of the runners going by and they were blowing bubbles. As they floated my way, I smiled. It's the little things.

 6. Online Church
 When you're out of town.... and totally disappointed to miss church... I'm very thankful for attending a church that makes social media/worldwideweb part of their ministry. Pastor Aaron's message was up online before the afternoon ended and I was able to listen to the message the same day! And, it's really no coincidence that this series is called Mind Wars- something I battle all the time. I Love my church! We've only been going there now for 3 months or so but it's home.

 Little Moments Matter. Don't miss them. I'm trying not to, but in the midst of mess, it can be easy to do. Be purposeful.
  Next week I travel away for work and I will run a half marathon for which I have been training for months. If you have read enough of my blogs over the years, you know each race comes to mean something to me. Stay tuned end of next week as I share the journey that this October Race has come to be for me.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

What I Learned in September

September was so packed full of events, I can't even believe it's gone. I always think the next month will slow down, but who am I kidding?
 September was full, but fulfilling, too. Challenging, but growing. September brought new friends and new memories. September taught me new lessons. Here is what I learned:

 1. I have a new favorite word- PROCAFFIENATE
    I am not a person who likes to put off projects, but I am one who most always needs a cup of coffee to get me going to accomplish them. Instead of being called procrastinate, it's "procaffeinate" and it means putting off projects until a cup of coffee is in hand. I found this to be especially true this month when it came to my school work. I was busy and exhausted and pretty much always needed that cup of coffee to keep me focused and going on the task at hand. I don't procrastinate (I actually don't- it drives me nuts.) But I do procaffeinate - I work better with the coffee in hand.

2. I enjoy Art
   I am taking an Art appreciation course this fall and I am surprised by what I am finding. Our first assignment was to study two of Pablo Picasso's paintings, and it really surprised me which one I enjoyed more once I started evaluating it. Never one for abstract art,  I actually liked that one more that the more portrait looking painting. This class is interesting, and while it is a lot of reading where I need quiet (difficult in my house) I like it a lot.

3. Parenting Teens is Fun
    I know I should be careful what I say here, but I will say it again - parenting teenagers is fun. (Please remind me of this in a month because I will likely need it!) If you asked me even a month ago I would have told you that I would take the toddler years any day over these teenage years. But this phase of life is growing on me. I probably will forever miss my kiddos being young, but in this phase of life with them, I am really beginning to enjoy it so much.
 Elizabeth experienced her first homecoming. We had fun shopping for the dress and while it was a crazy day (the same day as the AF Marathon) talking with her and watching her grow up is special. We have some beautiful conversations these days and honestly, I know the years left are minimal so I am soaking these times in and really enjoying them. One evening I took her and her friends to Youngs Ice cream and let them hang out while I sat and read - that was so strange, but there is something special about watching her blossom. and random, but sometimes she looks so much like my mom it makes me stop for a moment.

 Joseph is also growing up so much. I have been enjoying watching him get better and better in cross country this fall. He's taken 10 whole minutes off his original race time through this season. He never quits. He inspires me, which you will find me saying more than once on my blogs. He's shifting in his studies, and that makes me happy. And our conversations have grown meaningful and deep (sometimes, anyway.) I love this phase of my kids' lives.
  Both kids are growing into leaders in their own ways and I love it.
Our 6 mile run/bike together. (I ran, he biked

4. Once a farm girl, always a farm girl.
  Hands down, my favorite place to go is dad's farm house. There is something so peaceful about there. Perhaps it is a little bit the memories that reside within those walls and yards, but also, I love the farm. And when I talk with others, I realize how much of that farm girl I still am. The trees, the space, the work, and who I became through growing up on a farm will forever run through my veins. If I dwell on it, I miss it. But I am so thankful for my dad and for the quiet farm I still get to go to.

 5. Everyone loves a mascot
   This year at the AF Marathon we introduced a new family member to the staff- Tailwind. And everyone fell in love with him! He is a great new addition to our group. He's fun and animated and entertaining.

 6. We are a team
   I won't elaborate, but I will say I love these guys. We are a little family. This is us, tired and worn out from a very very long day. But happy. We work like an oiled machine when it comes down to it. This is our staff.

 September was kind of crazy. I had to do a little writing on my own to process all  of the thoughts that are in my head about the events of the month. But it brought on many lessons for me, and it was beautiful. October will be just as full, and no doubt with more lessons and memories. One day at a time.