Fit, Fluffy, And Frail

The alarm brought me to life and I did what I do every morning. I began to slowly stretch out my muscles from the nights sleep… it’s a nice way to wake up… stretching things out while I’m still laying down 😛

I’m kinda used to waking up with some kind of tight muscle somewhere on my body.

No, I don’t mean that comment I hear from people about having random and various aches and pains, the “it’s what happens when you get old” aches and pains complaint ( I have my thoughts on that too).

I wiggled my shoulders feeling the tightness in my chest and across my back.

Ahhhh, yes. Yesterday I had finally gotten back to do some boxing. I had taken weeks away from it while my new tattoo healed ( more on that later;) I launched into it with gusto and spent some time as well lifting heavy things.

Hello deadlift, weighted shoulder squats and chest presses.

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My body was reminding me that’s what we did yesterday.

Some mornings… it’s the legs… or the glutes.. or…. yeah… you get it….

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Fun you’re thinking.

No, seriously, I don’t mind.

You see when you exercise your body adapts to the demands put on it. In the beginning you do feel that tightness or ache or whatever (that, unfortunately, is when many people give up and quit) but as you keep at it your body wonderfully adapts to those demands.

After awhile you might not really “feel” that activity anymore. It seemingly becomes easier but the reality is, you, are getting stronger =)

Therefore, I like pushing myself a bit more to where I “feel” it. I don’t want to become complacent in doing the same old thing over and over.

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I want to challenge myself, to do a little more, to continue to build my strength and endurance.

I shared with hubby recently that I had been thinking of some things ( he gets a troubled look on his face when I say that haha;)

But I was thinking how there are things in life we cannot control. Things we have no control over…. no matter how we try….

And then…. there are some things we have a level of control over…. for instance….

I can control whether or not I’m fluffy or frail…. neither of which I have any desire to be… and I do have control over that.

I want to move ahead in my life being strong, fit, and healthy.

I can control what I eat, how I eat, and maintain a lean, strong fighting weight.

I can engage in activities that make me stronger for daily living and the tasks I take on. That time spent working out is the “pre-game” for real life that goes down way beyond my scheduled workout time.

I was chatting with a doctor the other day and we were discussing the benefits of being active and staying fit.  As we age we don’t have to become weak, many do because they don’t actively use their bodies. I love reading stories about people who are definitely in their “senior” years…. 70,80’s….. and they are strong and fit.

Why? They have stayed active. They run, power walk, cycle, do yoga, weight lift etc. they do things that they enjoy and have stuck with it. They know the benefits of eating well combined with purposeful exercise.

The results? they are strong… not frail or weak. They are at a healthy body weight.

Lifting heavy things keeps our muscles strong… that old saying … use it or lose it.. is pretty true.

Cardio work keeps our insides strong and healthy.

We become weak when we don’t work our bodies. But… that is something we have control over.

I don’t care how young you are… or how old… you have the power to make changes in yourself that are positive and that can impact your life in great ways.

We are always capable of making changes in ourselves.

How do you do that ?

Make a commitment to yourself that you really are worth it. This isn’t the time to be a martyr and say other things need you more, you don’t have the time to do it, you can’t take the time away etc.

Start small.

Add or increase your activities slowly to avoid injury.

Know some discomfort comes with the process!

Be realistic with your goals. Expect progress, not perfection.

Finally, don’t quit or give up! Even with a bad day, pressing on will get you steadily to your goals.

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A Time And A Season For All Things

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I saw her coming down the aisle. Shopping cart half loaded and small children hanging off of it. A baby carrier was nestled in the top portion.

A young mom juggling several small lives and gathering food for her clan.

We passed giving each other the polite smile. I contemplated her life and thought how very far away that all felt from me at this point.

I’m thankful to still feel young and energetic but my “little children” days are a few years back now.

My oldest just turned 27. My last pregnancy was in 1994.

I’m a grandmother.

I will be (again) as my son and his wife just announced they are expecting in October =)  Being a grandparent really is way better than you can imagine… really… it’s so different from raising your own kids.  And it’s kind of crazy seeing your children as adults, still your kids, but all grown up and you’re in this different place with them.

I’ve often been reminded of this truth from the writer of Ecclesiastes… “there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens”

When I was in my baby making days, ( I don’t participate in this activity anymore haha) it seemed like that part of life would go on forever. Well meaning people told me to savor and enjoy it as it would go by fast. Yet somehow, when you’re in the mix of diapers, lacking sleep, trying to keep your home orderly and make sure the baby doesn’t eat the cat liter it seems very far away indeed.

I gave birth to three beautiful sons, spaced nicely apart. I had good pregnancies and easy deliveries. I remember the nurse telling me I had a body perfect for having babies…I laughed and told her I wasn’t making a hobby out of it! 😉 I breastfed all of them successfully and loved the activity of being able to feed my sons. They were fat ( uh chubby) and healthy.

My husband and I had agreed three was our number… no matter what number 3 was… we were stopping. When my third son entered the world I was happy and joyful and had zero remorse that a girl hadn’t been born to me. He was tiny, perfect, and a total delight.

I won’t lie and tell you I didn’t go through my own season of grief realizing I would never experience those things again. Never feel life stir in me, that first movement, hearing the heartbeat, seeing that sono image, watching my belly grow larger as my child grew in me.

The anticipation of their arrival. The joy of seeing what I had when they were born ( We did not find out what any of ours were beforehand… super cool)

Not experience the joy of nursing them and the sweet moments that those times offered.  The sleepy times where they lay on my chest, the softness of their breath lulling me to sleep as I breathed in their sweet baby scent. The feel of that soft downy hair under my hand.

Those moments do go by all to quickly I was reminded as my 6’6 first born walked in and enveloped me in a huge hug before dinner last night.

A time and a season for every activity under heaven indeed.

I guess I’m at a point in my life I’m privileged? blessed? to look back and see those seasons, appreciate them, and know they are a normal part of the rhythm and flow of life.

Now, I see young moms and think “God bless them” followed by… “I’m glad I’m through all that!” And “I like having my body all to myself” haha at this season in life I’ll be honest and say I’m enjoying my freedom.

My seasons involve my children getting married, preparing for college, making future plans, getting blessed with grandbabies and watching my youngest approach her senior year of school.

Ahhhh my last one in school!

There have been seasons of change in my personal life, and my own childhood family.

There have been seasons of loss, and seasons of the celebration of life.

And for me, exciting seasons of contemplating adventures and new things I want to do.

I love the point I am in life right now.

Yes, I’ve moved through seasons that are done. Yes, some of them I’ve grieved. Some of them I’ve celebrated passing through! Some have been downright painful and full of struggle.

But what is rather amazing and awesome is the fact, we (all) will continue to move through new seasons in our lives.

I’m thankful to be where I am, to be strong and energetic and eager for the new seasons unfolding in front of me.

There are so many things to pursue!

I’ve tried to learn, to view, to accept, that seasons in our life are what makes life. I often refer to them as new adventures.

Sometimes they are hard. Sometimes painful, joyful, or confusing. They are what makes life.

What do you think ? Is life made up in this way, seasons that we pass through ? Where are you now ?  Have you learned to accept and embrace where you are ?

 

Running, Passion, And Vision

Running. I just feel like talking about running.

Maybe because I was out for about 4 miles yesterday morning and I was reminded how much I love it. And how much I miss it. And how irritated I am with this stupid injury that seems to hold me back from the potential I know that’s in me.

I’m not talking about my injury in this post.

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I want to just talk about the joy and freedom I have in the act of something so simple that we’re all born to do.

How do we lose the ability? the desire? the joy? of breaking into an open run, feeling our bodies surge under us as our legs kick in and the scenery goes flying by ?

When do we become to old, to tired, to lazy, to disinterested to run like kids ?

But then sometimes, later on, we stumble back upon it again.  We gingerly test out the legs and find out they are still capable of performing that task.

For myself and many others, once again, we find ourselves embracing the joy of running in sometimes an often child like way.

Just for the sheer joy and beauty of being able to do it.  

 

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To feel the wind and sun in your face or the bite of a cold morning .  To embrace being out in the dark for a long run or doing speed work that makes you feel just a little bit …crazy for doing it. The feel of your heart beating strongly and your lungs deeply taking in air, sweat forming on your body, the sound of your feet against the road.

To nail a 20 mile run…  and actually enjoy the tired ache of your body…. and the victorious feeling in your mind of accomplishing it.

Maybe the thing I’ve loved about running is how you’re always competing against yourself and how you can always step up your game… just a little bit more……

Running has been good to me.

In the beginning, it was definitely helpful for weight loss. In time, it began to carve and chisel muscles in my body I had only formerly thought existed.

It became my time to think, roll creative ideas through my head, process life, let anger and frustration out, and sometimes, it allowed me to cry and grieve at some of the agony in my life.

Running became my passion.  I didn’t see it as a chore or something to be endured, but a gift and a privilege to be able to do it.

I laugh and love it when my friends tell me I’m crazy or nuts, or make all those silly runner jokes.

You  know why ? I LOVE doing stuff the majority of people around me aren’t doing.

As time went on and my distances grew from short 10K runs, to setting my eyes on a half marathon, then full marathons, it never entered my mind that, I , little old me, would be a distance runner.

Seriously????

Yet, one thing led to another. A bigger challenge. A new goal. A new opportunity to challenge myself to something beyond my comfort zone.

Needless to say when I set my sights on a 50K last year, that was an adventure that had many asking me if I had lost my mind.

And trust me, if I allowed myself to slow down to much and reallllllyyyy think about it… I too began to see the insanity of running that many miles. And not just that race, but all the training that led up to it, all those training miles under me to get to that point.

Things like that are best not looked that close in the eye.

That’s the deal when you’re a distance runner. You don’t think. You just do it.  You get out there, let your body settle into a rhythm and you just…. go.

And besides all those things… besides getting strong and healthy and fit and being called crazy… running makes me feel ridiculously…. alive…. powerful…..strong…. confident… and makes me feel like I can take the world on.

I don’t think that’s a  bad thing, do you ?

So my struggles right now… it’s hard… so hard being kept in check physically with a injury that just won’t….be gone..

And wrestling with my mind that knows what my body is capable of, has done, and wants to get back to doing again…. is well… sometimes torturous.

I miss it in the worst way.

But get this… I don’t give up easily. And my mind is plotting and planning and anticipating all it wants the body to get back out doing.

Goals. New adventures. New chances for my friends to tell me I’m crazy and insane. New opportunities to prove to myself I can do something bigger and a little more fierce.

In between times, I’m tearing up the road on my bike with long miles and lifting heavy things to keep strong… and keeping my eye on growing my running distances.

Passion. It’s a good thing to have in life, right ? We all need to be passionate about something… it makes our heart beat fast and invigorates us … hopefully it challenges us as well making us feel alive.

Tell me… what’s your passion? What makes your heart beat fast and makes you feel invincible ?

new goal

 

My 2015 Year In Review

So we’ve just wrapped up 2015 and are a few days into the brand new year. You don’t have to look far to see magazines featuring stories like:

“The Best Of The Year”, “People Of The Year”, or ” Things That Amazed Us” or some sort of various titles. All of them show casing people or events that highlighted the year… often featuring celebrities or major events.

Then I realized, hey, I’m not famous or anything but I had some really cool stuff happen in 2015. Well, cool stuff and hard stuff but that’s life, right ?

I daresay, if you look back at your year, you could say the same thing. We don’t have to be celebrities to have awesome things happen that are worth sharing or shouting from the roof tops, (nod your head yes 😉

So, humor me if you will, my year in review.

January found me coming out of finishing my second marathon in December dropping my time to 4:52 from my previous (first) marathon the year before I did in 5:23.

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Moments after the finish of my second marathon Dec 7, 2014

 

I had also turned 50 and decided I was going to run a 50K to celebrate that milestone sometime in my 50th year. I committed to it in January with the race date set for March 1. My training continued with my goal focused on the biggest race I had ever considered. My friends called me “crazy” and “insane” … I can’t think of better compliments 😉

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When you make something public… you’re really committed to doing it 😉

 

 

Sadly, and unfortunately, the Dallas/Ft Worth area had turned into a slushy, snowy, winter wonderland during race weekend. By Saturday night they had cancelled all races but the half marathon for Sunday morning.

I was beyond devastated. To get to that point… to have invested so much time training… to be so mentally and physically prepared… was crushing.

I cried. I won’t lie. I cried that night. I cried that morning watching them discuss it on the early morning news as I prepared to go run (at least) the half marathon.

I will admit to biting back tears waiting in my corral to start the race (freezing) …my “Ultra Marathon” bib standing out in stark contrast to all the half marathon bibs surrounding me. I remember smiling politely as a guy joked with me that this race would just feel like a “warm up” run for me.

But I didn’t go all that way to run and not do…. something….. it was certainly new territory for me as I had trained in everything I could… except snow and ice…

they had cleared the course as best as they could but the roads were wet and ice patches were everywhere and there were many points of dodging piles of slush. It was misty raining and about 35 degrees.  I finished in about 2:19. Not my most impressive time, but I did it. I had never been more cold or emotionally drained than when I finished that race.

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Clutching my hard earned medal in the frozen tundra 😉

 

I can pretty well say, I don’t think a hot shower had ever felt better afterwards.

 

Mid-March I had already planned to run a spring half marathon that was close to home for me. So two weeks after my frozen half marathon in Dallas, I was enjoying a romp through the downtown streets of San Antonio… in much warmer weather.

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On course in the last couple miles of the Alamo 13.1 half marathon

 

 

After returning home the race committee sent an e-mail that ultra and marathoners who hadn’t been able to race could do a virtual race (within that month) and still get all their runners goodies. I was down for that. So I picked a date and with my husband waiting for me at an appointed time I took off for my own 50K running adventure… on my own training territory.

It was a much nicer day to do it….

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Yes, still standing after finishing my first 50K =)

 

 

I will tell you this… I have never been more tired or physically exhausted in my entire life. 31.7 miles can do that to you 😉

But I’d never felt stronger or more empowered in my life. Doing something that is so huge, and so much bigger than you are shapes you into this iron willed creature. It makes you feel like you can take on the world.

Although.. I wondered if I’d be able to crawl into the shower once I came off my “high” haha

Ok… so yeah if you’re counting that’s two half marathons and a 50K Ultra marathon all in March. And I don’t forget my marathon from a few previous months before.  Not bad for a girl who started off just walking 2 miles at night a few years before…

April was a bittersweet time for me as I dealt with my Mom being gone for a year. Life is a mixture of all things… and grief is a process that must be worked through. She was so proud of all my running adventures.

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Christmas 2013. The last with my mom.

 

 

In May I was privileged to celebrate another anniversary with this amazing guy….31 years….give the guy a medal for handling me… haha…he admits to not being able to handle me 😉 My cheerleader, friend, supporter, one who has been with me through so much. I love him.

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This guy. I couldn’t do all the crazy stuff I do without his support and encouragement.

 

 

Unfortunately, after lots of training ( nearly 1,000 training miles in 7 months)  I picked up a pesky injury that sidelined me off running for awhile… to long… but I’d rather play hard, hit big goals, than sit back not trying.

This is how I felt about that….

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This shirt… perfectly expresses my feelings….

 

 

June brought unexpected difficulties to our lives as my husband was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. We worked and pushed through and tried not to let it define our lives as he went through all the tests, surgery and procedures that had to be done. He was so amazingly strong. We are thanking God that he was able to go back to work and is on the road to a full recovery =)

For my birthday in July, I picked up my second piece of artwork that I positively love….this has such deep meaning to me… courage to stand in life… to remember that life is not only beautiful but comes with pain and to be courageous in the face of it. Life can require me to fight back… to be courageous in battles and difficulties.

The piece that surrounds my wrist says “strength” on the other side that you can’t see.  Life has demanded much strength from me in these past few years… it is a life word to me.

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“Courage” my second piece of artwork. I’m in love with this.

 

 

And while we we’re moving through our year, we were also preparing for a wedding. My middle son was getting married in September to a beautiful young woman we love. There were details and arrangements and plans to be attended to.

In the end… they were married…and it was a gorgeous wedding with a stunning couple ( I am NOT biased at all haha)

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My son and his lovely bride =)

 

 

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Celebrating with hubby

 

 

I’d say both families felt successful when it was all over and everyone had a good time. I think I danced most of the night in my 4 inch heels. By midnight, it was time for them to come off 😉

I’m still adjusting to knowing…. I’m a mother in law…. I have a new daughter…. and I have a married son… the ring on his finger constantly reminding me.

And wrapping up the year… another amazing Christmas with my sweet, precious and beautiful family.

And I’m blessed to celebrate 33 Christmas seasons with my partner in crime.

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Another Christmas with my partner in crime

 

 

He always makes Christmas so wonderful for me. And yeah, I’m in shorts. It was a pretty warm Christmas day for us in Texas and since I was cooking and living in the kitchen… it was definitely more comfy!

Of course the year was full of other wonderful celebrations and events like birthdays and anniversaries and random fun moments.

There were up’s and down’s in the year. Normal days and days that made my tummy hurt. Days of laughter and days of tears. God was good to us.

I am grateful to have had an amazing family to move through 2015 with who celebrated joys and achievements with me.

Last but not least, I launched this, my blog, at the end of February. It had been a brainchild for awhile and I finally decided to get it out of my head and into the “real world”.

Thank you, all of you, wherever you are for taking the time to read me, support, and comment whether here or in person. It’s my goal in this upcoming year to continue to write with humor and fun but also to encourage, educate and inspire you to be the best “you” that you can be.

Now tell me… what big events are notable from your 2015 year ?

 

 

 

 

 

New Year Goals Not Resolutions

Happy new year

 

Happy, happy New Year to you boys and girls! 2016 is upon us full of hope and new beginnings.

ok well, technically as I write this, 2016 is a few hours away and I am hanging out in Starbucks writing and enjoying a rare treat away from my usual black coffee. They offered up something this year called “Holiday Spice Flat White” and it’s a taste sensory of holiday spices. steamed milk and double shots of espresso

It’s amazingly delicious… and it will be gone soon… just like this year.

If you’re like me perhaps you look at the year ahead and are making plans and setting new goals…or resolutions….

I know the thing to do is make new years resolutions but I really wanna talk to you about goal setting instead.

What’s the difference you ask ? Let’s take a look….

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not do something. Do you see how that can go either way for your “resolutions ” ? Kind of subjective to your whim at the time, isn’t it ?  Not particularly concrete.

Now, let’s look at goal setting.

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Goal setting is a powerful process for thinking about your ideal future, and for motivating yourself to turn your vision of this future into reality. The process of setting goals helps you choose where you want to go in life.
It’s a pretty big difference from an ambiguous “resolution” isn’t it ?
At the top of so many peoples list for a new year is losing weight and starting an exercise program.
Setting small specific goals that are measureable and attainable will lead to your ultimate goal. Making a blanket statement that you want to “lose 25lbs.” without specific steps to get there will leave you most likely abandoning the idea fairly quick.
However, if you set out a specific goal to lose 1-2 lbs per week that is measureable, attainable and time bound. If you lost 2 lbs per week you would realize your overall goal within about a 3 month period give or take depending on how diligent you were.
Same for exercise. To just determine you’re going to go from doing nothing to taking off for a 5 mile run is crazy.  You’ll hurt and pay for it and vow that running really will kill you and you stop.
However,  beginning with a program where you implement walk/run and starting with 1-2 miles you can ease into it allowing your body to make changes and adaptations so you can run farther and longer.  You might have a goal of wanting to run a 5K race maybe 3 months out. By doing a walk/run method with your goals specific to increase your running time, and gradually increasing your distance will prepare you for that 5K (3.1 miles).
One of the things I thrive on is setting up a training schedule for my marathons.  I love the structure of a training program that leads to my ultimate goal of running 26.2 miles.  There is something about seeing my month already written out on a calendar that feels comfy to me… mainly ’cause I know those are steps to where I’m going. Without  specific, measureable, attainable, relevant, and time bound steps I’d never make it to the starting prepared and ready for that distance.
Let’s look at it from a nutrition stand point. So many people approach eating healthier as a do or die attempt. They think there must be great suffering and no fun stuff ever.  They believe they have to nail it every single day and if they don’t then they’ve “lost” and might as well “give up”.  (Please don’t give up… even on days you might feel like you’ve failed… you just pick up and keep going… that’s called progress)
When you take steps to make one better choice at a time it’s less painful to adjust. In time, you probably won’t think about some of those changes you’ve made as they become more habit for you.
If you drink sodas and you want to cut back or cut them all together you simply begin making small cuts to let your body adapt to that change.
Not a veggie eater? Why not try one or two new things a week ? You might be surprised at what you like.
Always take seconds at a meal even when you aren’t hungry anymore ? Train yourself to eat slowly and really focus on savoring your first plate of food.
Set specific, attainable,  and measureable nutrition goals for yourself.   A notebook or planner can help keep you on track with your goals.
I can’t claim originality for this but I love the quote “progress, not perfection”.
We aren’t ever gonna have it 100% “right” but we can keep on track to living a healthy, strong, and productive life =)
Tell me…. what goals do you have for yourself this new year ? What steps do you need to take to make them happen ?

Favorite Things Of Christmas

Christmas week. Christmas only days ahead….

Yikes!

I’ve been baking, shopping and wrapping like a wild woman.

My stockings have been hung by the chimney with care in hopes that I’ve been a good girl and Santa will leave me some goodies 😉

Decorating and getting out favorite Christmas decorations is definitely something I enjoy each year. As much as I love adding a new thing here and there with the passing Christmas seasons, it’s the old stuff that’s been around for awhile that really brings me the most joy.
You know how you probably have something that is “Christmas” to you? Maybe it’s a special food or cookie. Maybe it’s a particular decoration or something that’s been hanging around for awhile that when you get it out it evokes memories of years gone by.

That’s cool stuff….things that evoke memories of past Christmas seasons.

This first picture is a little village my grandmother put out every year for as long as I can remember. She would put the Barclay skaters out with the village. ( you can see them in the second picture… the people in this one are definitely more current) That was back in the day when lead figures were made of, well, lead 😉 I would get lost as a child sometimes just sitting and looking at it… that tiny little winter wonderland.

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As time went on and my grandmother passed away, my mom got the village. And after several years she moved on to a newer more modern ceramic one ( I never understood). One Christmas I was up in the loft in my moms barn like some large rat rummaging around for some things for her when back in the corner, forgotten, was the tiny village and winter skaters.

I immediately fell into begging mode… “Please, please, please let me have the village!” ( I can beg quite well when I have to 😉
She agreed and then I pressed again… “and the skater people? and the Santa and sled?” she told me to take them all…

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning. After all these years, the village and skater people with the Santa were mine!

I brought them home and carefully opened up the box taking out each tiny house. They were dusty and dirty and in need of some repair… to which I carefully set out to do… that Christmas they were out again with the lights carefully shining through the back of them (they have little holes for lights in the back)

That day began my quest ( and addiction) to learn about these cheap little dimestore houses and winter village scenes. Much to my surprise I learned the set I had grown up with were actually houses at the end of the era of the “cardboard” villages (mid 60’s).

The Barclay lead figurines were from the early ’40’s. I also learned my Santa is very rare and quite pursued as he was the only style made like this in 1942.

Often referred to as “putz houses” in older times the village was arranged around and under the tree creating often spectacular and unique displays.

As my digging and research broadened I learned these houses had shown up on the scene sometime in the late 1920’s. The most spectacular, beautiful ones were made during that time through about the mid 40’s. Many of these were huge with exquisite details ( and were on ebay selling for crazy amounts of money which quickly left me out of the pursuit of many) and yes, I got the bug.

Once I started seeing some of the unique, and beautifully detailed pieces it was hard to not jump in and gather my own “collection”.

This is the picture below.

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The “youngest” piece is the big white church in the center…it’s about my age haha… It was in horrible shape when I bought it. Someone had put hot pink and bright blue tissue paper in for windows… it had no fence…it was dirty… and I restored it to what it looks like now. The peach church to the left I bought for 9.00 … the windows had been chewed out by mice..it had no steeple… or windows.. the cotton was not on the roof… it was dirty.. but it was so unique I wanted it.( and my family shamelessly laughed at me for buying it) It had an actual little light in the bottom you could turn on. I bought it and carefully restored it… it is the piece I’m most proud of giving new life to. Even serious collectors I sent pics to were amazed at how it was restored.

I think my favorite pieces to find are the “cotton topped” houses, but especially the churches. These seem to have had a time span of only the early 40’s.

All of the houses in the second picture range in age from youngest of 55 to about 85 years old. The small house in forefront with lots of really tiny windows I believe is circa late 1920’s making it the oldest. Houses with the figurines of Santa and the Priest were made during the early 30’s and are most coveted by collectors today.

Given that these were cheap cardboard little pieces that sold for 5-10 cents during their brief time in history I find it totally amazing they are still around all these years later. I wonder about where they’ve been and what history they’ve been a part of. Todays villages are pretty but totally pale in comparison to me when I see the old antique beauty of these pieces.

In the second picture you can see the winter skaters and Santa and reindeer that were a part of my childhood village.

This is a part of Christmas that delights me in that childlike way.

Tell me… what special thing is it for you that says Christmas ?

Mary… Did You Know ?

Hey boys and girls =)  as I shared with you in a past post even though my blog focuses on health, fitness, and a whole lotta running related stuff, I will take times to delve into other aspects of life and write about whatever is currently on my mind or heart.

It makes for a happier blogger girl to get some of that other stuff outta my head 😉

Christmas is coming. Glorious, beautiful Christmas.

It is my most favorite holiday, hands down. I love the family traditions, special recipes,  shopping for gifts, wrapping ( I love making beautiful presents), the music, decorating my home, baking treats and sharing them with others… ahhhh so many delicious things to enjoy =) Yeah, stick around ’cause I plan to do several fun, happy spirited Christmas posts as we move through the month.

One of my favorite Christmas songs for years now has been a song called “Mary Did You Know”.  The music part aside, the lyrics have always given me great thought to pause as the song inquires  of thoughts from Mary about her son.

Maybe because I’m a mom of three sons it stirs  my soul in a deep way. I know the love a mother has for her sons. I know the tender way they can treat me, how they can make me laugh, make me crazy, terrify me, amuse me, and delight me at their own unique personalities.

Of course, my sons aren’t the Son of God.

The song asks Mary if she knew one day her son would rule nations, or heal the blind and deaf or if she knew kissing her baby, she was kissing God’s face.

mary did you know

 

When I hear those words, I have wondered. Did Mary know those things?

Mary was a normal young woman chosen to deliver the Son of God. I can’t help but think she would’ve had LOTS on her mind, and maybe lots of questions, but I’m still left wondering, did Mary know things about her supernatural son?

I like to think, Jesus growing up, was like a normal little boy. Active, busy, inquiring, into things, maybe making Mary breath a deep sigh of relief when he was (finally) taking a nap.

But could Mary know beyond an earthly sense things about her son ?  His destiny? His calling? His purpose?

She had received the unusual visit from an angel who had announced to her that she was chosen to carry God’s Son.  I’m pretty sure that would’ve set me on my ear. I wonder if she was given a special peace and understanding as she not only delivered this  child but raised and cared for him in daily life…. as he grew up and grew closer to his destiny.

His destiny to die for the sins of mankind. The Lamb of God.

Did Mary fully know ?  Could she ?

Yes, the angel had shared some things with her ( as if that wouldn’t blow your mind)  but like any of us (cause we’re human) did she grasp it all ?  How do you parent the Son of God ?

I wonder… Mary… did you know….

The reasons God chose you ? And ponder why ?

All of the amazing plan God had in store? or could you only see part?

That your son was really different from the other kids in the neighborhood ?

That some day he would miraculously heal the sick, blind and lame ?  Stop storms in their tracks ?

That the boy she watched grow into a man would someday die in front of her on a cruel Roman cross ?

Did Mary know her son was also her Savior ?

Did she know at all the suffering she would go through watching her grown son die in front of her?

I think this is what gets me the deepest. That evokes pain my heart.

Wondering if she knew…. wondering how she stood up under that knowledge.

Several years ago, my middle son had a horrible wreck coming home. He flipped his truck several times before it rested towards the bottom of a hill. His friend was thrown from the truck. When a friend called concerned and he hadn’t shown up home, we went driving looking for him.

I will never forget that night. As a parent it was the most horrible, gut wrenching thing I’ve gone through. We came on the accident site and I had no idea at all if my son was ok or not. It was surreal.

The lights from emergency vehicles. The police telling us to stay in our car.  My heart pounding out of my chest so loud I could hear and feel it.

My son. My beautiful, funny, strong willed, passionate middle son. I didn’t know how I would stand up to not having him.

After being told he and his friend were alert and transported to the hospital, I felt a little better, but still had no idea the condition he was in.

Arriving at the hospital and finally seeing him, bloodied and hurt, but talking and acting in his strong willed way relieved me. I wept with thankfulness for his life that had been spared ( his friend was ok too)

It’s this taste of personal agony that makes me think whenever I hear this song…that makes me wonder….

I wonder if Mary knew she wouldn’t be able to stop what would unfold..  watching in horror as her son was crucified.

Did she KNOW God’s plan for redemption  and somehow rest in that?  Knowing that her son would die, but rise to live again ?

She was human. She was a mom.  That was her child too. Her beautiful son.

Mary, did you know ? 

And what would you share with us about parenting God’s Son ?  What tips of peace would you offer us in parenting our own children ? What encouragement would you give to us when we struggle with understanding the plans for our children’s lives ? Or feel the agony and pain of loss ?  What would you teach us about the faithfulness of God and his perfect plans ? What joy would you share with us when you were reunited with your Son after the glorious resurrection ?

Mary, did you know when that angel first came to you, all the pain and joy you would experience or the incredible adventure you were about to be involved in ?

Yes. This song causes me to reflect deeply each time I hear it.  And well, there’s just a lot we’ll never know.  We can ponder, think, and reflect but we won’t ever know so many details ( I’m a woman… I love details! I want details!)

But this I do know, and it’s enough. Mary knew and trusted God. She trusted his plan. She was obedient and offered her life as an offering to be used…

and because of that I do know this… she brought MY Savior into the world who would someday die for me too… and for that… I’m immeasurably thankful.

mary