Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Does that make me crazy?

I was wasting time waiting to pick Steve up from work. I was in Old Navy, looking at a cute little summer dress, on sale for $8.95. I didn't buy it cause I didn't want to spend $8.95.

I left the mall and still had time to waste so I stopped at Noodles & Co. and spent $9.67 on a bowl of pasta, a chocolate chip cookie and an ice tea for lunch.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Lessons from the trail part 3 - making peace with my weakness

One of the biggest things I've learned about myself through running is what my weaknesses are and how to deal with them.

I don't do nutrition well on long runs. I laugh about stopping for a donut, and I do that, but reality is I should fuel my body better when I'm running for 4-6 hours. I'm going to have to change that as I run further and longer and attempt 50 miles. I will have to eat when I'm running for 12 -16 hours.

When I feel good starting out I push to hard early on and struggle horribly to finish. I have to realize when I feel good early on to take it easy and save something for the second half, or fourth quarter.

I get in my own head. This is the biggest weakness I have. I start hurting. Or having trouble catching my breath. Or realize I'm working to maintain a really slow pace. And I start thinking I can't do it. Or I shouldn't do it. Or I won't be able to do it. Or why am I doing it?

This is usually the time I do one of two things. Give myself a pep talk, or call for help. Literally call someone to come get me. And this doesn't necessarily have to be on a 20 mile training run. It can be on a 4 mile run. What I have to do is evaluate whether I really am just down, or if I really feel bad. After 4 years I can now tell the difference.

My pep talk is something like this.

"You have run several marathons. Hard courses. You can do this."

"Just keep moving forward. Run what you can, walk when you can't, it will get better. Just get past this feeling, and it will get better."

"Remember all the times you've been here before. How did you get through that? Can you do it again? Aren't you stronger now then you were then?"

And the one that works best...

"No one will know if you quit early. No one will know if you don't finish this run. Except for you. And that will matter the most. And it will matter on race day."

What I've noticed is this is how I deal with life. When I start hurting. When I want to give up. When there is nothing left in me. Sometimes I call for help. And if I call you, (and you know who you are) thank you so much for "the ride" and getting me through the rough spots.

Sometimes I need a pep talk. This one is easier. Because I have The Book.


Colossians 1:11 God will strengthen you WITH HIS OWN GREAT POWER so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient.

II Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

I will gladly make peace with my weaknesses so that Christ's power can be made perfect and work through me.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

T minus 15 weeks

Most of the week was fairly uneventful. Did my training runs. Then we went to Denver for a wedding. As per usual, Steve found a trail for a run. Saturday morning we headed to the foothills in Boulder to run the Mesa Trail. It was a beautiful morning and a beautiful place.

You can see the ridge line between the top of the trees and the mountains. This is where I climbed.

I chased Steve for awhile to get this picture as he was heading into the trails.

I felt the difference in elevation. Kansas is 1390 above sea level. The base of the trail was 4900 feet above sea level. I had a difficult time running across this prairie to get to the base of the mountain to enter the trail. You can see the corner of the observatory, that was my visible location to know where to come out of the trail.

I needed a restroom and when trail running you are like one of the animals. So I began looking for an excluded area. When I crossed a less traveled path, I turned in. It was a small creek with a log as a bridge. I found my secluded area and took care of business.
This shows the line of the creek and the climb above I was about to attempt.

Then, instead of heading back down and across the creek to the main trail that ran paralell to the mountain, I decided to stay on the less traveled one that continued to climb up and toward the mountain.

The trail ran out and I was climbing through prairie grass, no trail, just making my way. But I got it in my head I wanted to see the top of the ridge so I climbed. And climbed. And it got harder. And steeper.

Eventually I picked a stick to use for balance and to help pull me up. And to lean on and rest. I would've liked one without the limbs sitcking out, but couldn't find one and couldn't tear these off.

Closer to the ridge line I had to start rock climbing. It didn't look that hard from the bottom, but I got to point where I would throw the stick up over my head, crawl up on all fours and then grab the stick and climb again.

About 20 yards from the top I stopped to breathe, drink and catch my bearings. No way I was quitting.

I finally made it to the ridge line and saw this.

I couldn't maneuver sideways due to the rocks, and could not have climbed down the other side to attempt the mountain, even if I wanted to. Which I didn't. These rocks ran along the top of the ridge line both ways, and had to climb them for about the last 10 yards to get to the top.

And then I realized I had to go down...

I seriously had the thought, (only in my head it wasn't PG), holy crap, what was I thinking? It took me an hour to climb up and 30 minutes to get down, I had some motivation.

I prayed, walked, jogged, held onto trees, (you do know that when you are sliding down the side of a mountain grabbing a handful of grass will not slow you down IN THE LEAST!) and climbed backward down rocks. When I finally got out of the really steep part with the rocks and trees, I couldn't find the trail. I could see the creek and the observatory on my left, where it needed to be, so I just kept heading down, hoping to find the trail.

And then. THEN! My living nightmare came true. I felt, even before I saw it, a snake wrap around both ankles in kind of a figure 8. He was brown with a yellowish cream colored belly. Probably two and half three feet long. I will never forget what he looks like, so I googled Colorado snakes when I got to the car (and could breathe and quit shaking) and found it, a non-venomous Racer.

My female snake survival skills took over. Blood curdling scream(s) for an inderterminent amount of time and I hurtled myself down the mountain at a breakneck speed. SERIOUSLY could've broke my neck. I felt it stretch against my legs as I lengthened my stride and saw the it fly off my legs . It appeared to be in one piece and there were no snake guts on me so I think it lived. Pretty sure I didn't rip it in half. Wouldn't care if I did.

I realized as I was taking 13 foot strides down a fiercely sharp decline that the snake was probably less dangerous than falling (at this time, I didn't know whether it was poisonous) and I managed to slow down to a jog after about a half mile of fear and adrenaline induced sprinting. I was almost to the creek and I beat the hell out of the grass in an arc on front of me before every step. When I got to the creek, I couldn't cross because of trees down and they were too close together on the other bank. I have no trouble wading through anymore, but that was not an option. I looked down to my left and my original crossing, the trail, was less than three feet away the whole time.

I crossed the creek, dropped my stick, got on the widest gravel trail I could find and ran as hard as I could, shaking head to toe the last mile back to the car.

Steve says its not, but I think the scratch mark on the back of my calf is from fangs. I can't think of anything I did that would have scratched the back of my leg right there, even sliding a little coming down. Those are all on the front of my legs. Besides, it's my story, and if I want fang marks after living through it, I can have them. Because I think they are. (SHUDDER)

I sat in the back of my car and waited for Steve who had a nice uneventful 9 mile run on the trails. I told him I should've just followed him. He said, "Why? You had a lot more fun."

And you know what? I had a blast. I had an adventure. Most 44 year old mom types don't get to have this kind of fun. But hopefully next time Steve will stay with me for the adventure and beat the snakes for me.

Walking on the wild side. That's me.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Conversations with Whitney

I follow Whitney's twitter account quite closely, after the whole cyber bullying episode.

This one took my breath away. Her "throwback thursday" picture.


And now

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tales from the herd

I have some pretty cool friends. I was thinking about how blessed I am with the women in my life as I was getting scolded by Sheila yesterday. I say scolded, it was really calling me out on my insecurity and challenging me and encouraging me. Since we were both at work it was via text, and pretty much took most of the day. I really needed that.

I got a text the other day, with the caption "can you hear the angels singing?" Carrie sent me a picture of her double dip from Baskin Robbins. Made me giggle. I would've shared the picture of the mint chocolate chip and rocky road living in harmony in the bowl, but I couldn't get it out of my droid.

I got this picture of Emily all dressed up for prom. Sheila sent it to me so I could see beautiful Emily in all her prom finery. Made my day.

I stole this one from facebook, it got all kinds of media attention, and I loved it. It was taken by my friend Cate who lives in the KC area and she is Nate's back up mom, even though he hasn't met her. She is only a speed dial away and is ready, willing and able to jump on her white mom steed and race in and save the day if Nate needs someone that can get to him in 20 minutes instead of my 2.5 hours. Nate is actually quite relieved to know that I have someone close on standby for him if the need should arise. Anyway, Cate owns her own photography business and caught this picture on Sunday, May 20th shooting a wedding. Nerves of steel.

Rebecca sent this one.

Little known hobby of mine, since I was 19 I have made porcelain dolls off and on. I made this one for Rebecca over 20 years ago. She still has it. (Other little known hobby, made the green quilted jump suit the doll is wearing). I loved this picture of my doll next to my greatbaby. (Zoey has enough grandparents with Justin and Rebecca's parents, but I still need to claim her somehow so I have decided she's gonna be my "great"baby). This picture was just another bright spot one of my friends blessed me with.

I decided to share a few of my favorite dolls I've made over the years.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Does that make me crazy?

I bought tacos for lunch. From the hamburger place on the corner. I tried to eat them in the car. While driving. Wearing a white shirt. I ended up saving some for Steve for later. In my bra.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's your life

I have decided that's my new stand on things. I will love you and support you in your decisions. If they are bad decisions but not immoral or life threatening, I will keep my mouth shut. If they are bad decisions and immoral and life threatening. I may still keep my mouth shut.

Okay, if you are about to get snake bit I will yell, "hey, look out for that snake". And if you tell me you are going to rob a bank or abduct a child or kill your husband, I will try to talk you out of it.

But if you want to buy that horizontal striped dress and wear it, I will let you. No recriminations. (I bought one last weekend, and I love it).

If you want to go on an unhealthy unsustainable weight loss plan, I will let you, without verbally passing judgment and warning you that when you can't sustain it, maintaining weight loss is just as hard as losing.

When you eat that third piece of cake (STELLA) I will let you, but I might tell you to leave the last piece for me.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I have my life to live, my kids lives to meddle in, and I'm not getting it right.

Whatever your choice is, it's exactly that. YOUR CHOICE. Good luck with that. I get questioned so much on my choices, and I hate it. HATE IT!!

What gives me the right to make you feel the way I feel so many times?

"Do you know how hard running is on your body?"

"You aren't paying your sons way through college?" (Insert paying for ... apartment, car, etc. here)

"You run so much, I thought you would eat healthier than that." (At a birthday luncheon for a co-worker where the healthiest thing on the menu is beer because it's at least made from natural ingredients and can't be fried. Or can it? Has anyone ever had fried beer?)

I can go on (and on and on) with even more personal questions I've been asked.

But I have decided that I no longer will be passing judgment or disagreeing with your life choices. I don't much anyway, I'm pretty opinionated, but leave me alone, I'll leave you alone, on the stuff that isn't going to affect your well being, spiritual or physical at least.

So if I make you feel bad, become holier-than-thou, go all super Christian, the honorable Judge Judgemental, tell me to stop it.

You have my permission.

It's your life.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Lessons from the trail part 2 - I am enough

The trail doesn’t know…

That I’m afraid.
Afraid I’m a failure. I’ve failed my God, my husband and my children.
Afraid that I’m the one person God didn’t get right. Created me inferior, defective, so broken I’m beyond repair and have no value. Unloveable.
Afraid that I’m not good enough. Not smart enough. Not talented enough. Not pretty enough. Not enough.

The trail doesn’t know…

The difference in the sweat dripping off my elbows and the tears dripping off my chin.

The trail doesn’t know…
That I’m closer to God running than anywhere else. Out there in his creation, unplugged from cell phone, ipod, and life in general. No cars. No teenagers honking and yelling. No one clapping and cheering. No men whistling. No young women calling me porky.

That while I’m not on my knees, head bowed, I am at my weakest and strongest while running; if only for a brief time, from the cares of my life. I’m alone with Jesus. Nowhere to hide. Vulnerable. Empty. Begging for a touch.
That surrounded by nature, the creation that comes straight from the hand of God, that I feel him. Leaving my pride. Man can’t create deer and snake and opossum. Man can’t create trees or grass or rocks. Man can’t turn the sky blue or make the river flow. It's all God.

The trail doesn’t know…

That I love its solitude. I love its beauty. I find God close enough to almost touch. And I have felt his touch.

The trail doesn’t know…

But God does.

And God knows…

I am enough.

I am defective and broken.
I am enough.
I am valuable.
I can be healed.
I am enough.
I am loved.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

T minus 16 weeks

Some days it's rough to run and some days I feel I could run forever. Most of the time, if I'm running with Steve it will be a terrible run and if I'm alone it will go great. I'm sure it's because I want to impress him.

I had it reinforced this weekend why I don't run with new people often. Steve hosted the Steve 50 Fun Run this weekend. It was exactly that. LOTS OF FUN. It was a 50K instead of 50 miles. Complete with hamburger cookout and cool people. When Steve was done I had said I would go out and pick up the flags marking the trail. One of the guys said he would help me. He is super competitive and had already irritated me with a commment he made earlier in the day. I told Steve I would probably walk some of the trail while picking up the flags.

Off we went, and this guy that I have never ran with before doesn't know that I'm seriously a slow starter, because it takes a mile for my legs to loosen up. I really run the best miles between 5 and 25. He may have been taking it easy for him, but for me it was way too fast. So I let him pick them up himself and walked backward up the trail to the aid station. Feeling like a bit of a loser. I hate when I let people do that to me.

Anyway, I have my doubts I will be ready to run 50 in September, and I will have the doubts till September. Probably right up to the moment I finish. I registered for the River Run, a 10K here in Wichita June 2. Looking forward to it. Hoping to get a new PR in the 10K distance.

Highlight this week was running through the intersection at 37th and Meridian to applause from a car waiting at the light. (It was Coach Thomason, Whitney's high school volleyball coach and one of her classmates, but it was still pretty cool.)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Conversations with Whitney

Sunday morning...

Whitney: We're in church. Put your boobs away.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

You know you love me, right?

One of those days that I'm quite sure either only I have, or only I will share. So in effort to make you all feel good about yourselves, here I am in one of my it-could-only-happen-to-me awkward moments.

It's a Monday night, school night, work night, nothing unusual. I can't sleep. Not the I'm tossing and turning and can't fall asleep, but the I'm ticked at Steve because I can hear him breathing. Not snoring. Not breathing hard. He's just breathing.

I grab a sheet and go to the couch, I stop and take a Tylenol P.M. and turn on the Golden Girls, because I always fall asleep when I'm watching them.

At 3:20 a.m. someone comes in my front door. I sit up, and it's Nate and Taite. I'm fairly sure (as sure as I can be) in my tylenol-golden girls induced stupor that I must be dreaming. BUT NO! Surprise Mom! Happy Mother's Day. YAY!!!

And I realize I am woefully, inadequately, inappropriately dressed. Have you seen the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition? She's wearing more than me. The Time Magazine woman wearing her three year old? Yep. She's wearing more than me. So I wrap my sheet capelike around myself and my inadequate nightclothes and go to my room to get my robe. I'm thinking about not coming out, ever. But I do.

Taite is watching television and/or his cell phone, and Nate is making a turkey, light miracle whip and pickle sandwich. You know, it's good to be back in mom's fridge. He tells me his plans for today, to sleep, go see Claire (Hannah's little sister) play softball in the Heights Regional Tournament with Hannah, and then come back by home for the evening before him and Taite leave.

So what do I say???

I'll try and make sure I'm fully clothed?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Does that make me crazy?

My feet were swollen after a long run on Saturday. So much so that when I put my shoes on for Sunday's run they were so tight that they hurt.

I ran anyway. In a pair of Steve's.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Lessons from the trail, part 1

What do you do when you are on a trail, moving forward, thinking you know where you are going and then…

You come to a fork. And the trail isn’t clearly marked. You wait for something, anything to cue you which fork to take, but nothing comes. And you don’t have time, really to wait. You have to act.

What do you do?

What do you do when you are on a trail, moving forward, thinking you know where you are going and then…

Someone shoves you off the path you are on and forces you to take a different path.

A different path than expected.

My life/my trail/my run

I thought I knew where I was going. I was on the path. I was in control.

I got shoved so far off the trail I couldn’t find it.

I was knee deep in poison oak (I still have itchy red oozy patches on the front of my shin from Thunderbird Lake).

I looked up, but could only see the sky through the canopy of trees.

I couldn’t see the lake, I couldn’t hear the cars on the highway. It was just me, surrounded by nature.

I looked frantically for the path, ANY PATH. Finally, I wandered around long enough to find it, but I didn’t know if it was the one I was on, and I didn’t know which way to go. I just started following the path. There were so many little forks that I felt like I stayed lost. There were poisonous snakes, creeks to wade through, valleys so steep that I slid down them on my backside and had to crawl up on all fours, using roots and trees.

Dirt in my fingernails. Grass in my hair. Tears on my cheeks. Wandering slowly, almost aimlessly, completely lost.

And then I see it. Tied to the tree 50 feet in front of me, waving in the wind. A pink flag.
If I follow the pink flag, I’m back on the trail. I may be going the wrong direction, but at some point, I will know that. I’m either going forward or retracing my steps, in which case, when I’m sure I’ll turn around and go back.

But then I see it, faint marks in the dirt. Imprints of shoes. And they are pointing which way to go. So I begin to pick up speed, walking a little faster. I start running again, feeling hope. Bubbling up inside me, that I’m back on the path. I’m tired, I have some new scars, I’ve learned a lot about myself wandering aimlessly, lost.

But I’m on the path. Headed to the finish line. I may get off course again. I may choose the wrong fork, I may get shoved onto the wrong one.

But I will keep running.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

T minus 17 weeks

Still going...

I was so tired Monday I barely made it through core class. Went to bed early and slept like a log. Got up Tuesday a whole new person. Hit the trail after work with Steve and really pushed hard because it was supposed to be a speed work out. Ran four miles hard. Felt great.

Trail running is different than road running. A good example is last Sunday at Lake Thunderbird at the end of the 8 miles I was coming to the trailhead to the finish and I was working hard. Pushing myself. Hard effort. I looked at my garmin and I was running a whopping 12:52 pace. That's right, a mile in 12 minutes and 52 seconds.

I came out of the trail onto the road with a quarter mile on pavement to the pavillion and the finish line. I backed off the effort, no longer pushing, pulled my belt pack off, and settled into my home-run trot. It was even a mild uphill slant. I looked at my garmin and I was running a 9:43 mile, and it was easy.

This pretty much sums up my life. If there is an easy way and a hard way, I will take the hard way.

New street running shoes, I needed to go a half size bigger and I have been running in Whitney's running shoes, as they are never worn for exercise, only worn as comfort and fashion so they had all their running mileage left and (truthfully? She has been wearing my black and pink Nike's so my choice was hers or shopping. I chose to wear hers. My feet are pretty easy going, as long as I stay out of the Newtons).

I tried on two pair, one shoe on each foot and then left on the pair that felt better. I ended up at Sports Authority trying on Brooks, Asics, Nikes, and Reebok, didn't buy anything. Even tried on some minimalist shoes, but the idea of feeling like I'm running barefoot through town just left me a little uneasy. Went to to Dick's and tried on New Balance and three styles of Mizuno's and ended up with these white ones on the left. Check out my tan line you can see right over the top of the shoe. SMH!

Friday I ran a new trail with Steve, Pawnee Prairie on the Southwest side of town. I liked it, but it was dusk, damp and the mosquitoes were out. Ticks are terrible right now, but they seem to prefer Steve while the mosquitoes dig my scent. I will run some of my training runs there again, it was a nice change of pace.

Saturday I had to cut my run short by a few miles. I forgot to take body glide and I hate chafing. So I ran twelve miles of the run and ran it as hard as I could. I made really good time. It was 60 degrees when I started, so that was a big change from the 92 degrees last weekend. It kind of felt like a survival run, I stopped and bought vaseline, but it just doesn't work as good as the body glide. I stopped for water several times, but didn't take anything for nutrition, so it was probably a good thing I cut it short.

Highlight of the run, I cut through the Walmart parking lot to avoid the traffic at the intersection and the stoplight. I ran past a man in a hoveround who asked if I wanted a ride and patted his lap.

I got asked this week what I'm trying to prove. NOTHING!!! I just want to do it. I proved everything I needed to prove in the first half marathon that everyone thought I couldn't do and the first marathon that ALMOST everyone thought I couldn't do. But ultimately, it comes down to this. I run because I want to. Because I enjoy it. Because I like it. Not to prove anything. Not to make someone feel bad about themself because they don't run. Not to inspire anyone. It's one thing I do for me. All for me.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

Yes, she, thought, I am that mom.

That mom that takes 5 kids to the grocery store at 5:30 in the afternoon, the busiest time of the day. The mom with 5 kids all talking and trying to tell her about their day. Not loud, but just 5 of them make more noise than 1 does. And they take up more room than 1.

She really doesn’t enjoy taking them to the store with her. Well, that’s not true, she loves having them with her. She doesn’t like the judgment of the other patrons.

Yes, the baby has a snotty nose. She is teething. She is not sick or contagious, and she won’t touch anything that you will, you won't be contaminated.

Yes, my husband could watch them, if he wasn't working full time and going to school full time. Even if he is home, he’s so tired he can barely keep his eyes open and watching five rambunctious kids is trying on even the most patient person. And after leaving the kids at school and with a sitter all week while she works, she hates to leave them more and pay more for child care.

Yes, she thought, I am that mom.

That mom that forgot about the diarama of Charlotte’s Web due in 4th grade English. The mom that will now sit up with her 9 year old two hours past bedtime making a pig out of a wooden thread spindle, pipe cleaners and googly eyes because mom has known about it for two weeks, but forgot about it, and there is no way the 4th grader can do it on his own in time. And it’s 50% of the grade (why do teachers do that? Do they not have kids of their own?) It’s also a big deal to him to have a diarama on display in the class.

Yes, she thought, I am that mom.

That looks at the clock and calculates that after she finishes the laundry because she hadn’t washed the baseball uniform (for the last three games, and he is the catcher, and the socks really are so stiff that they are standing up on their own and it was muddy at the last game) and packs lunches the baby will be waking up for midnight feeding and then, when she can finally lay down she might get 4 hours of sleep.

Yes, she thought, I am that mom.

The mom that has heard “why did you have five kids if you can’t keep up”. She never answers “I didn’t plan too.” Never responds that she does know what causes it and she knows what birth control is. Yes, she has a television. Three of her kids are stepdaughters that she loves so much it hurts, but constantly is under attack by them and their parents because she doesn’t parent them correctly. As unfair as it is, you are allowed to make mistakes with your own kids. It's accepted, even expected, even by the kids. On the other hand, perfection is required as stepmom. The other two kids, well, she knows three methods of birth control that don’t work. God really wanted her to have those babies. And she is so glad. So thankful.

Yes, she thought, I am that mom.

That mom that has willingly given up even more sleep to sit outside her kids bedrooms and pray for them all night the night before a test or volleyball tryouts or state tournaments or debate or court dates.

The mom that has sat in the bleachers in a heavy coat, hat, gloves while wrapped in two blankets because she might miss a hit, or a throw to second base. And every single moment is precious.

Yes, she thought, I am that mom.

The mom that would give anything to take 5 kids to the store again. That would love to make a diarama of anything. The mom that still spends hours praying the night before finals or a job interview. That cries harder when her adult children hurt than over any pain she has ever felt for herself.

The mom that has to not help because while that is what she wants to do more than anything, her help causes more harm in the long run. The mom that has to watch the hard lessons being learned while it tears at her, because being mom is the hardest, but most rewarding and worthwhile thing she has ever done.

Happy Mother’s Day to every woman who has ever loved a child, their's or someone else's.

On some level, if you've loved a child, you get this.

My Kids

Kari, age 23
Amanda, age 21
Ashley, age 20
Nate, age 19 (pictured with two of my nephews and soon to be niece-in-law)
Whitney, age 15
Anneshia, age 3
Mia, age 22 months
Steven, age 5 months

And Crist, age 4, our Nicaraguan son through World Vision for two and a half years. I have a shoebox for letters and pictures. I love him too.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Does that make me crazy?

I hide people on facebook who annoy me.

And then I go pull up their page and see if they've posted anything annoying.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Voice

It’s a reality/game show on television with vocalists performing to win a recording contract. Unlike the many others on television you don’t see people sing who shouldn’t. You don’t ever wonder why they are humiliating people. You truly see talented individuals on the stage. If you haven’t seen it, a quick description, 4 judges sit with their backs turned to the stage, and judge only on the voice. The contestant comes out and sings. The judges have buttons that spin their chair around. If they turn to you, you are selected to go to the next round on their team. If more than one judge turns, you get to choose your judge. The judges are current music artists.

This round is the blind auditions. We watched them and I had 3 favorites. Jermaine was a backup singer for Alicia Keys, Tony is a former Mousketeer and has been performing acoustically for years, and Chris is an opera singer from Wichita, Kansas. (HE IS MY FAVORITE). And Steve’s, and Whitney’s…
The final show is tonight. These three men are all in the finals. It’s not that I know music, I’m just every woman in America, I guess. Last night’s performance show was one of the best competition music shows I’ve ever watched. Two performances by Chris Mann were awesome.

And this is what I really wanted to talk about. His two songs.

I’ve heard them before, probably everyone has. Whitney says I have no soul because I don’t get goose bumps when people sing. Nope, no goose bumps but I have tears. And both of these moved me to tears.

The Prayer
Pray you'll be our eyes,
and watch us where we go
And help us to be wise,
In times when we don't know
Let this be our prayer,
When we lose our way
Lead us to the place,
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe.

Have you ever prayed that? Maybe not those exact words, but the context? “Lord, I’m so lost. I don’t know what to do, help me to make the right decision?”

You Raise Me Up
There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

What do you hunger for? What is your heart restless for?
When you feel the presence of God, are you filled with wonder? Do you get a feeling of peace that makes you glimpse, even for the briefest second what eternity in his presence will be like?

I love when God speaks to me through mediums that are unexpected. When he gives me a little something unplanned.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

T minus 18 weeks

It was a rough week of training. I think I just stay tired. And I love it so far.

Today we went to Norman, Oklahoma to run at Lake Thunderbird at a fun run one of Steve's ultra buddies was putting on. It was a fundraiser for Relay for Life. 50k, 25K and 10K. I was planning on running the 25K, but didn't feel well all night so I had resigned myself to not running.

But about 15 minutes before the 25K start I ran and put my running shoes on and grabbed my water bottle and headed out. To this. (This was taken when Whitney and I walked a quarter mile in to see what it was like.)

Views of the lake.

Mostly though, a jungly very humid forest, at 92 degrees. Running sauna, anyone?

I realized about 1.5 miles in that I still didn't feel well and thought briefly about turning around and retracing my steps and calling it good at 3 miles, but I was still on the path that was 25K and 10K, so decided to finish the 10K.
I came across this sign nailed to a tree.
It was right before this part of the trail. The picture doesn't do it justice, it was straight down about 8 feet. I went down it ladder style on some roots.

It was an enjoyable day, Eddie's crew at Ozark Trail last year was the crew that "adopted" the 16 year old boy running the 100 miler because his mom didn't have any idea how to crew an ultra runner.

Whitney went with us and pretty much stole everybody's heart. Adorable was the word I heard most often. I tend to agree.

And here I am, 8 miles (I took a wrong turn and stayed on the 25K path a little longer) on one of the toughest trails I ever ran. My legs are scratched and bloody, I have dried salt everywhere, and in Whitney's words, the car smelled like "updog" on the way home.

I did learn about pygmy rattlesnakes. They are actually Florida snake species, but have somehow migrated to Lake Thunderbird. Steve saw one and said it was coiled up and hissing. Eddie says they are feisty, they come out of the egg mad. Steve called it "little snake syndrome".

Here is some very shaky video of the trail, made with my cell phone while I was running.

And a little more

It was a good week, looking forward to week #3!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Conversations with Whitney

From Twitter...

"Before I can even pick up the remote my dad is telling me to fast-forward...Dude...chill..."

"Ewwww, someone just liked some ratchet pictures of me from freshman (last) year!"

"Today I learned that you can overcondition your hair. That would be me."

"This substitute is such a bug -__-"

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Do what makes you happy

I was given some really bad advice a couple months ago. I’ve actually been given this advice a couple times recently. “You should do what makes you happy for a change”.

Wrong on so many levels.

First, it’s insinuating that I don’t do what makes me happy. A trip to Starbucks makes me happy. 16 mile dirty trail feet makes me happy. A new episode of “Once Upon a Time” makes me happy. A nap makes me happy. I can go on…

So let me give a few examples of why I think this is off base.

Let’s say I have $100 to spend on stuff. Whitney needs a new swimsuit (growing 15 year old boobs and last year’s suit doesn’t offer enough coverage), a new dress for a wedding and the one pair of dressy sandals she has need a layer of duck tape slapped on the bottom. I need a new pair of jeans, and saw a great pair of Miss Me’s in Dillards. (Okay, this is a partial fabrication, buying for Whitney makes me happy, and I would never put bling on my butt. I would put duck tape on the bottom of sandals.). Which of these two would make me happy?

Let’s say I want to quit my job and write the Great American Novel. Not work 8:00 to 5:00. Not answer to someone else. Take a chance. Make my dreams come true. This would make me happy, right? Living off of Steve’s income? No insurance – or at least not as good insurance. Dental, optical, orthodontic, health, life; extremely good policies; low co-pays, prescription cards, emergency room visits, for a very low premium on my part? Would it make me happy? Till I missed my first (possibly second) paycheck. Till someone got sick and had to go to the doctor. Till I couldn’t afford diet coke.

Let’s say there is a man at work that flirts with me and has made it apparent he is open to exploring more. And he has money he’d like to spend on me. And for whatever reason; I’m bored, lonely, mad, under-appreciated, any of the above at/by my spouse and family (have you seen the commercial where the mom buys her own present, gets dinner from KFC and tells her family “Because I’m the only one who knows where the on switch on the dishwasher is and…because I’m a great mom and you all love me. Happy Mother’s Day.” I really get that) and I think I should do what makes me happy, cause I only live once, right? And my whole life has been lived to put my husband and children first, so I look for fulfillment and compliments and excitement in another man and I have an affair. Does this really make me happy?

Let’s say that the 3 dozen cake balls I made this weekend (Denae has been gifted with the “Cake Ball of the Month” for her birthday this year. She is the first and only recipient, she will be receiving a dozen cake balls of my choice on or about the 23rd of each month. For 14 months, because her birthday is not till June) look really good sitting on my counter, after all they are white cake covered in white almond bark and rainbow sprinkles. Sprinkles, like glitter, make me happy. It would make me happy to eat about 12 of them. Until I was done eating them, and then when I had to work them off in addition to my regular workout, it wouldn’t be making me happy anymore.

When I look at these few scenarios, they might make me happy, for a brief time. I think though, that most of the time doing what would make me happy would have lasting consequences that might eat at my soul until I’m no longer me.

Sometimes what I think might make me happy is the wrong thing.

I’ve learned in my life that doing the wrong thing never makes me happy. And while you may look at me and say that I can’t be happy with my life, you would be wrong. Because I choose to be happy. I know that every day to the best of my ability in each situation I’m faced with I do the best I can. Even when I screw up and beat myself up over it, I know that I’m giving my best effort.

Nowhere in the Bible do I read that Jesus did what made him happy. And yet I think he was. Because none of us want to be around unhappy people, and people were drawn to Jesus.

I’m off to cake balls and the Y and a long run…

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Does that make me crazy?

I was fixing supper and had a plate of cake balls on the counter. I was nibbling (eating by the handful) on greens; lettuce, kale and spinach I had cut up for a salad.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


The first building shown in this video is my building at work. I worked in this building till the end of February and then moved to a different office, same job. This is after the tornado ripped the front of the building off. Front lobby, front offices and front restrooms are gone. The factory part of the building is intact. Because I support this building through Supply Chain Management as a Procurement Agent (translated, I buy metals to build aircraft parts), I was asked for the near term to move back into my old office and work where I’m easily available, face to face until the recovery activity is done. My broken building. My other office is cleaner, nicer and the parking is better. Cafeteria is better.

My co-workers laughed at me moving back, (they also laughed at me stopping at the door of the building and changing my high heel sandals for Skecher casual shoes and my sunglasses for safety glasses) and were talking about my “temporary” desk.

I still have my permanent desk with the desktop computer and desk land line phone. Tangible, visible signs of power. Ethernet cable, power cords, phone lines.

My temporary desk has my company cell phone and my laptop. Wi-fi and cellular service. Completely cordless. No visible signs of the power source.

I’ve been accused of over-spiritualizing things, but as I sat at my laptop I kept thinking about what they said. And it strikes me that this mirrors my life.

My permanent home isn’t here, it’s in Heaven. In Heaven I will be able to see God. I will have tangible, visible evidence of my power source.

This is my temporary home. It’s a broken world and I’m doing my best to counteract the destruction in my life. I have a power source, the Holy Spirit, but I can’t see him. There is no tangible or visible evidence I’m plugged in. But it’s there. It works.

This is a reoccurring theme, as I talked about Heaven and the Holy Spirit on Easter, so I guess it’s kind of on my mind. More so in light of last week’s tornado.

I’ve always been fascinated by the book of Revelation. Ever since as a small child bored in church (because I was a in-church-every-time-the-doors-were-open kid) I read the book of Revelation and it was all about seals and horses. I’ve learned a lot since then, real horses, but the seals were the kind that seal parchment. Two things I’ve noticed are the seasons are so out of whack. Call it El Nino or global warming, but whatever it is, 94 degrees in April is odd for Kansas. We had a horribly cold winter 2010/2011 followed by a scorching dry summer into a mild fall, a mild winter and warmer than usual spring. The thought of summer scares me right now and I like hot.

The other thing is the increasing number of natural disasters. They are more frequent and more deadly than they used to be. I remember my senior year of high school, there weren’t hardly any natural disasters, very few that even made the news because they didn’t cause fatalities or billions of dollars in damage. I did a little (very little) research and compared 1986 to 2011, so if it’s not exact, I apologize, (I pulled it from a website that sounded official).


1986 – 765
2011 – 1691


1986 – 3
2011 – 26 and this includes the deadly Tsunami that hit Japan


1986 – 4
2011 -13

I didn't look at cyclones, forest fires, droughts and floods, but they were all listed too.

I believe it’s so important to love people and share Jesus love with them. I' not a "sky is falling" person, and wether I think the end is near and Jesus is going to come back really soon or just believe that a tornado or even an earthquake, as we’ve had them in Kansas this spring could end our lives at any moment, I do believe we should be making the most of our time.