Friday, June 29, 2012

conversations with whitney

setting:  grocery store parking lot taking her to "night swim" at the public pool.  we had to stop and get bread and milk and cash for her.  we had mia and had taken her to the park, it's 102 degrees outside. i am wearing black capris (cut off's) work out pants and a 12 year old white tee shirt that is well worn and well loved and very holy.  i mean holey?  i mean you can see skin where you shouldn't see skin.

whitney:  mooooommmmm, that tee shirt.
me:  sorry, didn't think about changing before we left.
whitney:  it's okay, i'm cute enough for both of us.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

prone to wander

this is a line from a great song.  a hymn, made popular again recently by contemporary worship.  i remember the first time we sang it at church, it was unusual to know all the verses to a song that was new to the majority of the people in church.

i'm a wanderer.  i feel like i have been unsettled and wandering my whole life.  i guess that is the way it's supposed to feel, as this isn't my home.  i'm just passing through.  wandering day to day. 

trying to find my way. 
trying to stay found. 
trying to not get attacked by the wild animals.
trying to forge my own way.
trying to maneuver over, under, around and through the obstacles. 

in april when i ran the rockin k marathon i discovered i liked to hike.  i liked the adventure.  i liked to push myself to do things i'd never done before.  crawling up the bluff was amazing.  just knowing i did it.  the view was well worth the climb, if the climb in itself hadn't been a reward.  add boulder and the black hills to it and i'm becoming a wandered.  i can't call myself an explorer, because i'm not looking for anything.  like running, i'm in it for the hike/climb/fall as much as the destination.

i feel like i'm wandering spiritually.  questioning so much of what i was taught.  reading my bible and looking for the answers myself.  redefinining what i really believe, for me.  not what was spoon fed to me for years.

i'm wandering in my personal life.  with whitney starting her junior year and being an independent child, i have so much free time.  i went from sixty to zero it seems overnight.  which is backward.  i can do the things i love.  i can do the things i want to do.  i'm not sure what all that it is.  i can't climb a mountain every week, so i'm wandering through this time of life, rediscovering my passions and what i like to do. 

they are much different than what i loved twenty years ago.  i'm not one who has to find herself, i know where i am.  i'm not lost. 

i'm just wandering. 

and enjoying the trip.  the view.  the people.  the experiences.

i intend to continue to wander as long as i can.

Does that make me crazy?

I saw a picture of a copperhead that was seen at Lake Perry. Just for some reference, Lake Perry is outside of Topeka. Which is close to Lawrence, the location of Clinton Lake where I am planning to run this September. Since Steve and I have both already seen rattlers up close and personal this year and I have had a close encounter with a non-venomous reptile, Ben’s picture of the copperhead was a little freaky. So I did some reading about copperheads.

They are not lethal, unless you are allergic to their venom. I’m guessing unless he just ate pine nuts, I will be okay. They don’t usually even treat copperhead bites with anti-venin. They do give pain medicine, and the venom causes skin rot. YAY! Skin rot!

They also are not aggressive. They don’t like people and will try to avoid them.

I didn’t even think twice about this race I want to run, I just did research on the type of snake I think I might encounter to be prepared in case I get bit…

I'm getting over my fear of snakes.  Never thought that would happen.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Wander Weekend

Steve and I just spent a wonderful weekend in Sturgis, South Dakota.  After Denver and now the Black Hills, I could become a mountain girl.  Loved it.  We went so Steve could pace his friend Mark at the Black Hills 100 Trail  Ultramarathon. 

We went to Hill City, which is a really neat little town.  We ate at interesting and delicious restaurants.  Everything from high class casino restaurant in Deadwood to Roscos diner in Sturgis and the Branding Iron at the Nemo Guest Ranch. 

And the Sturgis Coffee Company was the best place I've ever gotten a cup of coffee or an iced tea.

We saw Mt. Rushmore and Mt. Crazy Horse.

Carolyn and I at the starting line. 5:30 a.m., on less than 4 hours of sleep.


We drove to all the aid stations on Friday to have an idea of where we were going so we wouldn't get lost on Saturday. Steve took a little jaunt up the trail. It was so beautiful there.

And in true adventure woman fashion, I had time to climb the mountain. Steve went with me this time. When we came to the barbed wire fence he didn't think we should keep climbing, but he gave in to me and we kept going up. We crossed the trail the runners were on about 20 feet above the fence, so we knew we weren't trespassing so we felt a little better and continued up.

We had to deal with very slippery footing because the pine trees had lost their needles and they were dead and all over the ground. You couldn't use the downed trees for footing because they had been down for so long they were completely dead and when you stepped on them they turned to dust under your feet.

We were about halfway up when Steve told me he wasn't sure we could get all the way to the ridge line.  I was hot, sweaty and out of breath, but I told him we were going to the top.  I don't get to do many things that are exciting and hard and make me feel a great feeling of accomplishment.  I was getting to the ridge.  So he climbed in front of me, told me where to put my feet, what route was best and what rock was loose and not to climb on.  I really did listen and look, and yet still grabbed that rock and fell on the mountain.  It earned me this.  

When we reached the top, this was our view.  It took 80 minutes to climb up and then get back down, to give you an idea of how high it was.  I was so happy Steve climbed with me and got to see this.

This is a bluff that we went out on and looked down the moutain. 

I took this standing at the car.  It's so different then what I'm used to seeing.  God is really quite an artist.

It was an interesting experience.  Steve was dressed and geared up and ready to start running at the 50 mile mark.  He was so excited to get out on the course.  Mark however, had run an extremely challenging course in 90 degree weather and at mile 50 he dropped out of the race.  We had been at the aid stations with my new friend Al from Ontario whose wife, Linda was running the race and Dan, who's girlfriend Stephanie was running the race. 

Linda is a real powerhouse.  Steve asked her if she would like a pacer for the last 50 miles.  She said sure.  Since they were driving home to Ontario when she finished the race, Al asked since I was going to be there for Steve would I crew Linda and let him get some sleep.  I said yes, and then Dan was planning to run with Stephanie and had no one to drive his car, so Steve had a runner, I had two runners to crew and a car, so all was good.

And then everything went wrong.  Stephanie pulled out at mile 57.  I got asked to take Annoying Bob back to the start line also because he had dropped as well.  (Bob was only annoying because I was tired and cranky).  So we drove back to Dan's hotel and the start line and dropped them off and then I went back to the woods to check on Steve and Linda.  Missed them at the Nemo aid station, but picked up their stuff and went to the next one.

I expected them in about 2 hours, around 3:40 a.m.  At 4:00 they weren't there, and as time went on toward the 5:00 cut off, I got nervous and then worried and then downright scared.  I talked to the aid station volunteers who had no idea what the plan was for lost runners.  I was the only one of the volunteers or crew members that looked healthy enough to trek up the trail and look for them, but then I figured that there would just be one more lost person in the woods.  I drove to the next aid stations looking for the race director, trying to find out who would go after them.

I found no one who knew anything.  Now I'm frantic, imagining Linda going over the bluff, Steve trying to save her and both rolling to the bottom, a pack of mountain lions eating them, a broken leg, rattlesnake nests (I had 4 hours of sleep in the last 48 hours, I was beyond myself).  As I was pulling back in I saw her red shirt and Steve's green shirt.  The trail was not marked well and after 70 miles and in the dark, it was even more confusing.  They ran an extra 7 miles and missed the cutoff time and Linda's race was over and Steve still had 29 miles of trail he wanted to see.

I was immensely relieved, thanked God for bringing them out of the trail.

We went sightseeing Sunday afternoon in Custer National Park.  Loved the buffalo.

Monday flew home.  So happy to be home.  I loved the trip, the experience, the people and the adventure.  Looking forward to the next one.  But SO SO happy to be home.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Conversations with Madeline

She photobombed me, sort of.

Took my phone, took a picture and changed my background to this.

I laugh everytime I pick my up phone.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Drought and Storm

Matthew 5:44-45

44 "But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous".

Do you have enemies? (And do they know they are your enemies)? And how would it look if you loved them? And the praying for them? Im pretty sure God rejected my prayers of make her go away and others as a prayer that met the criteria for praying for your enemies.  I know he was probably quite disappointed in me over some of the words I said.  But I want to be a child of my Father in heaven, so Ill do better. (This paragraph is just a bonus, when I read it I felt like Id been spanked by the word of God.  I really intended to talk about verse 45). 

I've been reading the Gospels, over and over.  About Jesus.  About his love, how he handled situations and people because he always got it right.  I can learn from him.  Can't be him, but can be better.  Matthew is great. 

I really thought about verse 45.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous".

Ahhhh, me and my love/hate relationship with facebook. The place where someone is showing off their new thousands of dollars toy (thats right I called it a TOY and we all have them) right next to someone who is asking for prayer for a child with cancer.

One person is building huts in the jungles of Guatemala and another is drinking Mai Tais on the beach in Hawaii.

One person is moving into their fancy new 4,000 SF home celebrating a good move/promotion and another is downsizing, literally cutting their belongings in half to move into a new home, city and career due to cutbacks/economy, etc.

First, let me say that I think buying new toys as I called them is great, vacations are great, big new beautiful homes are great. There is nothing that says we have to take a vow of poverty and give everything we have away. (Funny anecdote:  I was told once every time I think about buying crest white strips I think I could give that money to missions. I think of that every time I buy crest white strips, but I still buy them. One mans sacrificial gift is anothers man gleaming white smile). 

I do believe we are asked to give and help others. But God will put it in your heart and you will know what cause to support and what amount to give.   And your giving is up to you and can and should be private.  So the person on the beach may have financed that whole trip to Guatemala and the building materials for the huts.  I don't know.  But it just made this verse stick out to me that while some struggle some flourish.   


In the storm and the drought - which ironically are complete opposites and both represent bad in our lives.
When the unrighteous people are blessed and the righteous people struggle, God is good. 

When the righteous people are blessed and the unrighteous people struggle, God is good.

The bonus at work that is a blessing from God for one man is the same bonus to the atheist. It rains blessings on both.  The layoff for the devout Christian man is the same lack of income for the atheist.  

Sometimes I feel a season of drought. I need the storm. I need to realize sometimes it takes a storm to heal the drought.   

And I'm feeling kind of dry, So whether you think you are good or bad, righteous or unrighteous, if its raining where you are, would you come stand next to me?

And Ill work on how to pray for my enemies.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Does that make me crazy?

Went to a family reunion last Saturday.  They had door prizes.  We all had a number.  I knew the gifts were crap not anything I would want. 

And yet I really wanted them to call my number.  Listened intently, and they did, and I picked my prize and I was so excited and it was...


Monday, June 18, 2012

Lessons from the trail part 6 - I'm a snake magnet

I was told I was a snake magnet. I laughed. I seem to see a lot of snakes. But I'm not a snake magnet. I'm pretty sure I have the same amount of encounters as many other trail runners. Or less, because many spend more hours than me on trails. 

My theory? I'm very aware of snakes when I'm on the trail. And if I take my focus off, I end up with one wrapped around my ankles. Because I'm aware of snakes, overly aware, I think I see them more.

That idea that once you buy something you see it everywhere? Or pick a name for your kid that you don't know any others, and then there are 12 of them in the next month? It's that concept.

I thought of this verse, 1 Peter 5:8 "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour".

I'm not a snake magnet, I'm alert.

I have gotten over my deathly fear of snakes in the last couple years. I now feel like I have a healthy fear of snakes. I respect that they are harmful, (AND SCARE THE PEE OUT OF ME) but I won't let them keep me from something I enjoy. The trail.

As for the devil, I'd rather not run into him either.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

T minus 12 weeks

I suffered badly from exercise ADD this week.   Went to the Y instead of running outside because it was ferociously windy.  Whitney was babysitting, so dropped her off and went to a different Y than I usually do.  I ran my first mile and for some reason could not get my focus off the girl on the treadmill in front of me.  She was running well, but I was thoroughly entranced by the way she moved her elbows when she ran.  So I finished the mile and moved to another treadmill.  I was about 3/4 of a mile in and a director from work that I see everyday got on the elliptical behind me and again, this was so disconcerting that I finished that mile and moved...again.

This time, I ended up next to a much younger girl running 8.1 miles per hour, and the thought of racing her never entered my mind.  I finished my 3.5 miles and moved to an elliptical till Steve was through lifting.

The rest of the week was okay.

I have been dealing with runners knee ever since Rockin K Marathon.  It's tons better, but a long difficult run, like Storm the Dam last weekend, makes it flare up.  The swelling and pain go away in two days, then I run again and the swelling and pain come back.  It's not anything that really would sideline me, but from past experience, I've decided to take a week off and let it heal.  This is a great week for that, as it's a fall back week, and we have a lot of stuff going on.  I can aqua jog or use the precor that allows me to set resistance high and measure by distance instead of time. 

Then I will have three pretty tough weeks, but Whitney is going on her U.S. tour so I will have time to dedicate to training time wise.

I have had some serious doubts this week about trying an ultra.  In fact, I've had some pretty serious doubts about myself in general this week.  But I'm plowing ahead.  Life is too short to not give it my all.  Training, relationships, Life. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Conversations with Whitney

June 6, 2012

Whitney:  Pretty sure today is the best day of my life.  (She just got her driving permit).

Whitney:  Pretty sure this is the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!! (I had just told her that her and Nate's cell phone upgrades were in and I picked up her iphone.)

Whitney:  THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!!!  (I told her she had tickets to Lion King the Musical).

Here is the first picture she took of her (and Denae and Madel) with the iphone.

I'm not sure the world is ready for a 16 year old driving-iphone-toting-patron-of-the-arts-Whitney. I'm not. Unless I can get her to take stuffed Simba to the musical....

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Change will do you good

It seems most of my relationships are changing.  Except Sheila - not so much. She is (outside of family) the longest relationship I have, and (including family, to a large extent) the most solid and consistent.

My relationship with Steve has changed and matured and morphed over the years.  Right now I believe he is my biggest supporter, proudest fan, and loves me more than anyone else.  There have been times I wouldn't say that, but there have been times honestly I gave him no reason too.  We've chosen a life together and we are better for sticking with it.

My relationship with Nate the last two years he was home was rocky.  He obeyed the rules, he was respectful, but it very passive aggressive.  He loves me and respects me as his mom, and he never was verbally disrespectful, but it was there.  I chalked it up to growing from boy to man.  And then after he was home at Christmas I got the most beautiful text from him, apologizing for his behavior and the way he left.  "I just was young and immature and had to figure things out on my own.  I'm sorry."  And then, a couple months ago, this one "everything I have that matters I got from you.  Not materially, that doesn't matter.  I know what's really important.  I know how to find the light and how to walk in it, because you taught me".  Oh, I needed to hear that.  To feel like I got it right.  There have been a couple more, but this week he was making a decision about work and asked for advice because "you have years of experience and this is all new to me".  I stood up from my desk and actually said to God "how did I get him?  How did I raise this without screwing it up?"  He's growing into a man that will be respected and admired.  Our relationship is changing.  We are now discussing philosophy books and religion books and all the things he used to laugh at me for - reading for entertainment and personal growth, running for physical and spiritual and mental health...he gets it.  When he asks if I've read something, I love to discuss Don Quixote or Dante's Inferno or the Metamorphoses or the Lost Gospels wth him.

And then there is Whitney.  She will be 16 in August.  I'm teaching her to drive.  Well, Steve and I are.  "Mom, you sit in the back, I'll drive with dad".  And then she looks in the back seat and says "no back seat driving.  Dad will tell me if I do something wrong."  I know more about what she is up to through Twitter.  Like last nights late night sand volleyball tournament with Crystal and another friend (they won).  I knew she was staying with Crystal, didn't know about volleyball (this makes 5 games or practices in the last 3 days).  She is growing up too fast.  But she's still a little girl.  We will get there, it's just hard watching this relationship change.  She should still be my baby.  

I have others, Jenny moved to Boston.  That drastically changed that relationship.  Carrie moved home from Boston, that changed our relationship.  Kelly & Michelle moved to Seattle. 

And then there are the bad relationships, harmful, hurtful, that you just have to cut out.  There are a couple of these.  A person I know that I wish I didn't, I need to cut that one completely  I just don't know how.  Do I tell them I need them to stay away?  Does it need to be addressed?  Can it go away with unresolved hurt?  And a former friend from church that isn't a friend anymore, I think because I have failed miserably in areas of my life that she doesn't know how to deal with.  The last time I talked to her was so stilted and awkward that I'm letting her go too.   

I've been thinking about all my relationships.  Am I what I should be?  Am I the wife; the helper, the submissive one?  Am I mom; not friend or not competitor, but cheerleader, advisor and problem solver where possible?  Am I a true friend?  Do I pay attention to who might need an email or phone call or meet for coffee or a shared aerobics class?  Who needs encouragement?  Do I take the time to offer?

Relationships are not easy.  They take work.  Anything worth having is worth working for.  Relationships, like life have time spent in the valley.  Not perfect, not pain free.  But worth it.

And I want you to know today that when I hit the publish button I prayed for everyone that will read this.  That God will bless you.  Just where you need it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


Denae loves giraffes as much as Whitney loves Simba.  She said that if she could have a giraffe cake it would make her life.  I am so far from a decorator, but I have a lot of fun with it.  For Denae's 16th I made this Texas Sheet Giraffe Birthday Cake (or death by frosting cake, as it is covered in traditional sheet cake frosting about a half inch thick and the giraffe took a recipe and a half of traditional white frosting).

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lessons from the Trail 5 - feelings can be deceiving

When I ran the Storm the Dam half marathon with Steve I felt great.  I had a good run.    We didn't have a garmin or a clock, we just ran.  I ran most of it, and was surprised at how fast the miles were ticking by.  This trail had mile markers every mile and 4 or 5 aid stations, which was awesome.  I would come across mile 1, mile 2, and so on and think how fast we had gotten there.  This rarely happens for me.

I had one bad mile, from 9-10 where we walked more of it (most of it) than I would have liked.  That mile 10 marker never seemed to materialize.  Eventually we passed it, and I got back on track and still felt pretty good.

I felt so good,  I was hoping for a better time than I had before.  I was quite disappointed to find out that I didn't have the time I wanted, it was actually slower than the last time I ran this trail when I felt like I was going to die and struggled and hated the whole race.

I was very discouraged by this.  How could I feel so good about the race and do so poorly?

I Corinthians 10:12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!

Sometimes I think I have it all figure out.  I'm on track, know what's going on, what I'm doing and out of nowhere I fall into my own pile of me.  I did this last week.  Handled a situation poorly.  Really, not too poorly, I just didn't need to say anything and I did.  I also let one negative comment about something from someone who shouldn't be allowed to speak into my life (and I shouldn't allow it to have any weight) bother me more than the 3 positive comments about the very same thing from women I admire and love.  How does that happen?

I read Jon Acuff's blog, Stuff Christians Like and he talked about Larry David, the creator of Seinfeld.  He was at aYankees game and they showed his picture on the screen and 50,000 people cheered.  On the way to his car someone drove by and yelled "You suck, Larry".  That was the comment that mattered.  He said it's because 1 insult + 1000 compliments = 1 insult. 

Me.  I get in my way.  I think I'm standing, and then I'm backside down on the pavement wondering how the heck that happened. 

So I get up and try again. 

And after a while, I decided that the fact that I wasn't running as fast as I thought I was shouldn't matter.  I would just take it as a success, because it felt like one.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

T minus 13 weeks

I ran Storm the Dam Trail half marathon yesterday.   It was hot.  And windy.  And fun.

As I work towards my first ultra (my friend Mark says Ive already ran an ultra because Rockin K Trail Marathon is actually over 27 miles) I realize I have the same nerves and anxiety. What if I cant? What if I cant make it? I also have more experience and the guts to say that if Im not ready, I will drop to the marathon distance or not run at all that weekend. And I have that thought at least once a week.  Doesn’t hurt as much as the first few did when I was proving to myself (and yes, everyone else) that I could do it. Now I know I can do it, and I dont much care if everyone else thinks Im a stud or a failure (or really, where they place me on that scale at all).    I did have a rough time Saturday afternoon with some disparaging comments, but a good nights sleep and it's all history. 

This week we celebrated National Run Day. Which means everyone who runs shared something heartfelt or poignant about why they run (except for me) and ran some miles because it was Wednesday and in most training plans, thats the mid-week mid-to-long run day.

When they post the question I run because_________ I read the answers. And they all have validity. I had some fun making my list.

I run because:

Im being chasedby my own personal demons.
Its the only time as a 44 year old mother of two teenagers I can wear pink pleated mini-skirts and its acceptable.
I get to wear pink pleated mini-skirts.
I can run further than my teenagers.
I like to smell really REALLY BAD.
My life without running is not near as exciting. No snakes, bob cats or naked homeless men stories.
I have made so many great new friends through running and I want to stay friends with them and Im afraid its the only thing we have in common.
I am a masochist. I really do enjoy pain.

I really didnt have a serious answer.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Losing the competition but claiming the prize

I was told the other day that IT IS a competition and I am not the winner. 

I agreed. 

I don't win much. 

I'm at the end of the pack.  I'm a slow finisher.  That's when I'm actually  in the race.  I'm content to be on the sideline a lot of times.

When I'm in the competition, I try.  I try hard at everything I do. I try to be kind and loving and forgiving.  I fail.  I lose.  But I keep trying.  I try really hard not to be mean and be offensive, and yet I still offend people.  It's gonna happen.  And I try to apologize if I can. 

But back to not winning.  I thought about it.  And it bothered me.  Is it okay if I admit that someone that shouldn't be able to hurt me anymore still can?  That I'm still not over something that happened a while ago?  I'm a slow healer.  Being called a loser hurt.  Okay, putting words out that weren't said.  I was called "not the winner of a competition". 

I realized I control this.  I can cut this completely out of my life.  So with this post, it is done.  No more room in my life for this individual, whether it's kind and complimentary emails (I don't have to open them, I have a delete button) or ugly blog posts about me.

I accept I am not the winner of the competition. 

I'm not the winner. 

But I got the prize.  Several actually.

I have a husband I adore.
I have children that I think the sun rises and sets on. 

These two above would be more than enough in one life.  But...

I have a job that pays enough. And provides incredible insurance.
I like what I see in the mirror, from head to toe.  (inside and outside) 
More material possessions than I need.
I am stronger physically, mentally and spiritually now then I was 10/20 years ago.

I have a do over everytime I need it with God.  He forgives and lets me start over.  And in his eyes, I am a winner. 

So if I have offended you with my words, email me or text me or post a comment.  I'll do what I can to make it right.  Because hurt and offense are never my intention.  Life is hard enough without me inflicting more damage with words. 

What about you? 

Are you winning?

Or do you just have the prize.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Conversations with Whitney

Whitney is bumped today for Anneshia. 

You know parents and grandparents always want to tell you how smart their kids are?  I'll let you decide.

Neish:  Can I have milk?
Me: (handing her milk) yes, but don't spill it.
Neish: (two seconds later) I spilled it
Me: (heading toward the mess with a towel)
Neish: Whacha doin?
Me: cleaning up your mess.
Neish:  You made a mess?
Me: No, you did.  You spilled your milk.
Neish:  Can I have milk?

Thursday, June 7, 2012


Courage doesn't always roar.
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice
at the end of the day saying,
"I will try again tomorrow."
- Mary Anne Radmacher

I was reminded of this quote on a picture shared on facebook. 

Often by the end of the day I feel that I've had very little success.  I finish a lot of things I start.  I do a lot of hard things.  Mostly because I don't have a choice.  Some things, yes, I could choose not to do.  But I'm not talking running or working out. I'm talking the really important things.

Being a wife.  Being a mother.  Being a friend.  It's hard.

Being a person. 

Being a person.  That sounds funny, I know.  I have been overwhelmed the last couple weeks by the selfishness and arrogance I have witnessed.  Hopefully, no one I'm talking about will read this or recognize themself, but if they do?  I guess I will apologize ahead of time for using them as examples.  I'm sorry.

Complaining about everyone you come in contact with at Walmart or Dillons.  I understand we are all different levels of intelligence and education.  The thing is, we can't help it.  Some of us just aren't as smart as you.  Not on purpose.  God didn't make me/us/them dumb and you a genius and then put me/us/them in your path to annoy you.  Could you show a little compassion?  And maybe you do.  That person in front of you at the pharmacy is not your facebook friend so you bashing their ignorance in your status doesn't offend them.  (But it did me, so I hid your posts.  Because unfriending you would make you bash me as juvenile or ignorant).  I ask questions that I don't know the answer to.  I know that sometimes holds up the line and it's not meant to inconvenience you.  It's just, I need the answer.

And the checker at Walmart? If they were educated (or really intelligent or older than 16) they wouldn't be checking groceries at Walmart.  They'd be at the very least working at Target.  They aren't working their little hearts out till you get in line to slow down. Or letting the old man with 60 items go through their express lane just as you are getting their to ruin your day.  Or needing a price check to irritate you, they don't enter prices in the computer.  That's at least two paygrades over their head.

I've been called ignorant by someone who can't spell.  I laughed.  I've had my running times compared and belittled by a woman who asked how long it took me to run five miles and then she said "I can run one mile in 9 minutes".  Good for you.  I can run one mile in seven and a half minutes.  But I can't do 5 of them that fast.  But I didn't say that to her.  I just let her be faster.  And asked her if she wanted to run 5 miles with me.   And laughed.

The people on the exercise machines at the Y or your boot camp at your women only workout facility or in your running group aren't trying to annoy you by talking.  Or with what they are talking about.  Or the level of their workout. Or the speed or beginner level of their running capabilities.  (This is why I am very selective about who I run with.  I'm afraid I'm not good enough for you).  I read these complaints by several different people.  Then I started paying attention at the Y.  The guy next to me on the treadmill was busting out 7 minute miles.  I sure hope my 10 minute miles didn't offend him.  Or stopping to text Whitney that yes, I knew she was downstairs in the gym, and yes, I wouldn't leave without her wasn't too annoying to the serious gym rats, because I am a parent first.  I also use my phone to listen to music.

I'm challenged everyday to just be human.  To be a person.  A good, kind, caring person.  To understand that life is rough everywhere and to show compassion and kindness, because I don't know people's circumstances.  Could I make a difference with a smile and a kind word?  If so, I want to give it.  I don't always.  Somedays it's all I can do to not being mean and antagonistic.  Impatient.  Harsh.  I hold my tongue.  I hold my comments off of facebook and blogs and don't dish out ugliness in print.  I don't correct your spelling. 

But sometime I hold kind words too. 

Sometimes I hold my encouragement.

Because I don't think you deserve my kindness. I don't think you deserve encouragement.  Kind of witchy, I know, but I do it, and mostly to the people closest to me.  Isn't this sad?  And I have been on purpose trying to correct this.

Sometimes I don't encourage because I'm scared of intruding.  

Steve and I were running Saturday.  As we came a long the bike path we passed a lady sitting by the side of the path, resting from her bike ride, crying and wiping her eyes with a tissue.  We kept running.  It upset me.  Not because she was crying, but because I felt the pull do something and I DIDN'T WANT TO.  I didn't know her, I didn't know what was wrong.  I didn't want to get involved.  How sad.  I finally told Steve to wait and I ran back.  I offered what little encouragement I could in a situation I knew nothing about, and then asked if  I could pray for her, scared she would yell at me or ridicule me or even worse, say yes.  And she did, say yes, and murmered with me while I prayed and thanked me over and over as I ran off toward Steve, loud enough that he heard her.
I share this because last spring I was sitting at the Y on the mats stretching after a workout with my headphones in and I was in a particularly bad place and time in life.  And a woman sat down next to me and turned my face toward her with her hand and said "child, I don't know what's wrong with you, but you know Jesus loves you and he cares." 

I did not respond like my lady did.  I looked this brave, sweet stranger in the face and said, "oh yeah?  If he did, then why _____________________?"  And unloaded my crap on her.  She said, she didn't know, but could she pray for me.  It meant the world to me that a stranger took a chance to enCOURAGE me and lift me up. 

She still speaks to me when she passes me at the Y.  Always with a smile.  I haven't forgot the kindness and encouragement of a stranger.  (I do wonder why I have sat at church with tears running down my face and no one stops to ask if I'm okay or if they can pray with me). 

I tend to offer encouragement easiest in the areas it's been given to me.  I guess because it mattered to me, I think it will to others.

The definition of encourage, taken from the root word courage "To inspire with hope, courage, or confidence; hearten."

I have the courage to try again tomorrow.  Many times it's because I have encouraging people in my life.

Thank you to my encouraging friends.  You give me hope and confidence, you give me heart, and you inspire me to be more like you.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Does that make me crazy?

There are 12 stalls in the womens bathroom at work. I hate for someone to be in the adjoining stall.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Lessons from the trail part 4 - Life is lived in the valley

When I was running in Boulder, CO I climbed a small mountain. And when I got to the top of the ridge I was moved to tears. (I think I cry easy and too much, but Nate made the comment that weekend that his Aunt Michelle was like me. She didn't want people to see her cry or know that she did). I tell people I do, but I guess I cover it well. Big aviators are good for that.

Anyway, I worked really hard to get to the top of the ridge. I wanted to get to the top of the ridge. And when I got there, I was so proud of myself, and as I shed a few tears of exhaustion, pride, and awe of the sheer majesty and beauty of the mountain in front of me, I was hit with a thought.

I was on the mountain top. It was beautiful and moving and I was alone. No one to share it with. Just me. And I loved it. But all I could do was take a picture and share my story. I didn't share this picture with my training report, this is the actual view looking down over the valley.

Life was in the valley. Everyone I love was in the valley. I was alone (with God) on the mountain top.

See, I always want the mountain top exeprience. I don't like being in the valley. I clawed my way up from the valley. I was short of breath, dirty (even had dirt in my hair), sweaty, tired, my hands were scratched up because I had to use a stick to pull myself up, I held onto rocks to make my way. I wanted it that bad. And it was worth it. But I WAS ALONE.

I realize many towns are built on hills. But for the object lesson I got that day most of my life has been lived in the valley. I'm comfortable there. I know how to survive, even succeed. The mountaintop experience was probably all the more special because it's rare and it's hard work to get there.

I wished so much that Steve was up there with me.  Next time, we will stay together on the trail. Or go twice so we can go together one day and explore on our own the second. I tend to have bigger adventures, but that may be because he is more level and uses his common sense.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

T minus 14 weeks

Fourteen weeks sounds so close...

Time flies….unlike me when I’m running, lol.

I am still dealing with the emotional issues that come from having a snake wrapped around my legs. Mostly, I just think about it and shudder. No nightmares and I haven’t needed counseling to get back out on the trail.

I did get asked a question so I will fill in a gap. How did I, very snake conscious, take my eyes off the ground long enough to get attacked by this Colorado monster.

I was never very far from civilization. At any point in my hike/climb/run I could see houses and cars and other people ON THE TRAIL. I could even hear people talking. But I came across a dead deer. Being as quick as I am (at least mentally) it didn’t take but a second for my deductive reasoning skills to kick in…this deer was not hit by a car. Something had ripped his throat out and feasted on the inside of him. And it had been fairly recently. So re-enter the mountain lion thoughts from Rockin K Marathon. And the fact that my haunches might have a touch more meat on them than they should and I might be a good option for dinner, a little variety and all, and that was all it took to get snake whipped. (I did talk to Whitney this week and she has asked that I stay on the trails from now on. She is probably the only one that can ask that and I would comply Interestingly enough, Steve was running when it started hailing the other night, big hail stones, some golf ball size. Whitney thought HE was a stud. I didn't have the heart to tell her that a hail stone that big could do serious damage. We went and rescued him).

So this week, I go out Tuesday night to our trail, where I have seen the occasional snake, but my biggest fear back there has always been opossum and skunks. Steve was already running and I was hoping to run into him. I got one mile in where I turn north and headed that way. I hear someone behind me yelling, which of course can only be Steve, he is coming in from the south loop. Which if I had run, I would’ve missed him, because I’d been far enough behind him and wouldn’t have seen him in the trees. (This was boring details, but needed for the next part of the story).

Steve tells me that he will run my four miles with me on the trail (he is at mile 9 of his 10) because the homeless guy that has been back there for the last week or so is out, and he is naked. I TURNED AROUND AND HEADED OUT OF THE TRAIL. Apparently I am more scared of homeless naked guy then I am of bob cats and snakes. I finished on the treadmill at the Y.

Saturday I was registered for the River Run 10K and woke up with stomach trouble. I ate something the night before that didn't agree with me. I have ran a race in this condition with extremely unfavorable results and swore I would never do it again. Steve had a 40 mile run and I took him lunch and told him I was going to run 10. So he rode home with me and ran his last 10 with me. You would think after 30 miles I could stay with him without struggling. But the man is a machine. We ran the bike path for 10 miles. It was a beautiful afternoon and he is so much fun to run with.

Next week is a push week and a half marathon at El Dorado, the Storm the Dam. Steve has run this race every year it's been held. He is already registered. I haven't decided yet, but he said he'll run with me if I want to do it. Can't argue with that.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Conversations with Whitney

This picture is one that only a mom will really get. It was a mom moment. At my nephews wedding she was sitting a row up with my sister. I looked at her and she's so grown up. And Nate was sitting next to me and he's so grown up. And I realized I will never have that moment again. So I snapped this picture to remember.

This was from rehearsal dinner. From l-r: Brandon, age 21; Jeff, age 19; Nate, age 19; Soffia (the bride), age 22; Cameron, age 23; Whitney, age 15.

And this is just another of her self portraits.