Monday Musings

Hello world and hello Monday.

Didn’t we just do this??

Is anyone else appreciating that the days are slowly getting a bit longer and for us, warmer as well?

So I’m feeling a bit victorious...

Why you ask? I’m coming off a 9 day stint of taking care of my very active, busy, precocious 2 year old granddaughter while my son and wife were in Ireland.

Rough for them I know 😛

Anyway, I dusted off my 24/7 mom skills and thankfully they were still in place. And it should be mentioned, being fit has payoffs in keeping up with a non stop 2 year old.

Thankfully she enjoys being busy and enjoyed running and going places with me.

She loves being outdoors with the sun in her face and wind in her hair. She wants to explore and is open to new adventures. She’s fearless and doesn’t hesitate from jumping into things.

She’s my spirit animal, seriously.

We went to the park one day. And of course she wanted me running up the hills with her, and then climbing up the big slide. She delightedly waited at the bottom for me to slide down squealing in joy. We got on the swings, her in my lap holding on to the chains thrilled we were sailing into the trees.

***me…attempting to bend all 6’0 under the slide over hang***

It was all fun and games till she let one arm go. I was trying to keep her on my lap while the swing was twisting wildly and I’m internally freaking out ’cause I’m terrified I’m gonna break her little arm. When I finally get the crazy swing under control and stop us, she turns to me and says “Nanny come on, do it again!” While my heart is still pounding out of my chest…

I got to climb bars, swing from them, and all kinds of other things while well behaved moms in yoga pants sat chatting watching my antics.

It’s the cool thing about being old. You just do what you want and you don’t care if anyone may or may not be approving.

There’s a crazy amount of freedom in that.

And you know something? It is true…what people used to tell me…that grandkids are awesome and blah, blah…I thought they were just running their mouths

You love them in this crazy, awesome, different way from your own kids. They are the reward for not eating your own offspring 😜

They own your heart in ways you can’t explain.

I have 6…and a 7th due in less than a month…another little girl to own my heart. My first born son expecting his first born. I can hardly wait to see him in a daddy role to his baby girl.

I just hope he doesn’t pass out during the delivery….

So yeah, grandbabies are kinda cool.

Then one day, we’re in my car hitting the highway. I drive a Charger and it never gets old letting it open up, hearing the engine kick in, and that swift feel of rapid speed. It’s a head rush.

I do love it.

Then from the backseat I hear….”Whoa!” Followed by a wild delighted laugh. I glanced back to see her with this big smile on her face.  It appears she may enjoy it too…

This was us “driving” later. I may be ruining her for her dad hahaha

The next morning as we were going to car she runs for drivers side and I hear…”Nanny are you ready?”

I spent a whole lot of time laughing. 😂😂

Her parents returned home after a fun trip and collected her.

I missed her sleepy little face that first morning they were back, waking up, calling me and giving me morning hugs and kisses.

We had been partners in crime.

Fortunately they live next door so I don’t have to go to long before I get those again.

Later, I got to enjoy my coffee in a cool cup. Pretty sure not many people have a coffee cup like this around Texas….

Oh yeah, aside from busy 2 year old care, I had time to work on lots of projects for my business. That has kept me running too. I love all the creativity that comes with it.. I find it quite relaxing in a weird way.

I finished this cool antique table this week. I’m excited it has sold already.

Look at those claw feet. I’m a sucker for those.

I repurposed an ugly vintage suitcase…

Look at it now…

And I turned a boring brown table into a clock table which I love…

I’m on a black and white kick….

And one other thing. Check out this super cool antique radio cabinet I scored. I’m totally repurposing it for something else…I can hardly wait to start it.

In other random stuff….

I was running through the store the other day and spotted this.. .

Like…what the heck Barbie?? I know times are a changin’ ya’ll but.. this isn’t the Barbie I knew and loved.

I love the glamorous Barbie even if the world thinks she’s unrealistic. What’s wrong with fantasy and fun play? I like my Barbies with crazy long legs and unrealistic waist sizes.

She had amazing clothes, cool cars and equally spiffy boy friends.

I don’t want a thick Barbie in mom jeans.

I know that may not be politially correct to say but it’s my personal opinion. Childhood is short, why can’t you have something wildly fun and non real to enjoy before you have to grow up?

Maybe there is a market for the mom jean Barbie….I prefer the Barbie who knows how to dress and has the cool car.

Your turn to weigh in…what do you think about a modern looking Barbie? What new projects or adventures have you been up to this week? How will you spend longer days?

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Thanksgiving And Norman Rockwell Expectations

In just a few days we will be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the U.S.

Let’s just call it a day full of food, family, friends and football.

And pie.

But pie doesn’t tie in to my cute list of “F” items 😉

But yesssss… pie.

I do plot and plan a week out, make my list and check it twice ( oops wrong holiday) and preparations are in full swing the  Wednesday beforehand ( someone’s gotta make all those pies!)

Anyway, without fail, every year I find myself admiring the magazines with the full color , glossy beautiful spread of festive Thanksgiving tables.

The perfect china. The spotless glassware. The glistening silver. The without fail amazing centerpiece crowning the table.

The entire, whole, perfectly browned turkey on the platter with lovely garnishes all around it waiting to have the matching cutting knife and fork taken to it.

 

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My turkey will never look like this…..

 

 

All that’s missing is the family in a perfect matching ensemble seated expectantly around the table.

And all I can think is…. “For Real?”

Oh, it seems so ideally perfect and lovely. You know… “Norman Rockwell’ish”.

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Are those stalks of celery on the plate???

 

 

I’ve had late night fantasies about it…. fantasies…. ’cause no matter what my intentions are I know that it will just never unfold.

Our Thanksgivings tend to be on the more ordinary bend and look a bit like this…

By that I mean, I’m happy if I have enough chairs to squeeze everyone around the table and wonder if there are gonna be enough dinner forks or do I need to break out the salad forks ?

I really want to have a super cool table centerpiece, but, well on years I’ve had something  clever it gets moved to make room for …you know.. the food.

The coffee is happily brewing but it’s not served in china cups.. my coffee mug collection has become a bit more eclectic over time.. kinda like me 😉

I usually have the turkey cut, wrapped and waiting, while attempting to keep my sons from grazing off of it.

My roomy kitchen starts to feel small as people arrive and hang out there.. I attempt to hold on to my organization of how things are running…

Football is already on, and the men in my family want it at levels to simulate being in a crowded stadium with 100,000 people.

It’s guaranteed I’m tripping over a dog who’s hoping I make a fatal move with some food that will land on the floor and they will be the clean up crew for it.

I’m trying to keep an eye on everything cooking on the stove, trying to remember what’s in ‘fridge that needs to go to table ( nothing like finding a dish or two still in there afterwards 😛 )

Somewhere in the midst of cooking and wrangling people, I’ve made an attempt to look somewhat put together and cute for the day. Given it’s usually warm on Thanksgiving it could mean I’m in shorts… sigh… no cute sweaters..

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I have a million thoughts running through my head one of which is… “If I eat a piece of pie now, will anyone know?” haha

Somehow though, it all comes together.

The food all makes it to the table, it’s still mostly hot, everyone has a seat and a fork 😉

it’s often loud, crazy, and a bit chaotic. The football game has been (temporarily) quieted  and I am grateful to finally sit down and enjoy the fruit of my labor.

My Thanksgivings might not look like the glossy pages from holiday magazine. But as everyone quiets down and we join hands and bow our head to give thanks for all the blessings we’ve been given and the plentiful amount of food before us I’m reminded again, it’s not in the trappings or how perfect I want everything to be that matters.

No. That’s not it at all.

It’s each and every person gathered around the table that matters and makes it meaningful to me, they are the gifts that I am most thankful for and grateful to have gathered  with me.

That to me, is the deepest meaning of Thanksgiving.  No matter where you are on our big planet, I hope you take a moment to give thanks for the blessings you have and the people who bless you, for that is what matters most in life.

 

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The Step Parent

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Christmas 1998 with my dad

 

 

Heads up. This is a “life” post. Don’t worry… we’ll return to healthy eating, fitness, my current cycling adventures, food, and other interesting topics soon….

This past Sunday we  celebrated Fathers Day in the U.S. It’s a day celebrated each year on the third Sunday in June to honor the men in our lives.

I’m blessed to be surrounded by some pretty awesome men in my life, from my inner circle, to those I interact with out in the world.

The man in the picture is my dad. It’s obviously, not, a current photo of me. My mom dated it ’98 on the back. I found it digging through some old photos that she had. Honestly, I have no memory of that picture being taken.

I was a young mom and according to the year my boys would’ve been between 4-10 years old.

No laughing at my mom jeans and bangs.

Christmas has always been a fun, celebratory event in our family. My parents delighted in it and loved giving way more than anything they’d receive. Not only did they always bless us with a fun Christmas, they’d also find a needy family or two to help out. My mom always wanted those families to experience Christmas like she gave to her family.

My dad was the handwriting for “Santa” for way longer than my kids probably bought into it. He loved doing that, it was his job he knew he was expected to do each year. He’d get the name tags ( ask again how to spell everyone’s name haha) and get to work on his project.

Maybe I should pause here to mention… he’s technically… my “step” dad.

I never use that term unless, for some reason I have to clarify something in my life and using the “step” part helps to do that.

My feelings…on referring to anyone as “step” something? I don’t like it.

To me it says… keep your distance, I don’t want you to close, you aren’t worthy enough to not have the “step” attached to it, you aren’t as good as the original etc etc

Now don’t crucify me if you don’t agree. I know all situations are different for people but for the sake of (me) in my family, I have always tried to just include everyone as a part without making them feel separated out.

So, he’s technically my “step” dad. He came into my life when I was 19, almost 20, and about to be married.

I had passed the point of needing a dad. I had two men in my life who had that job and both had walked out on me and my family.

My birth dad left my family when I was 8 for another woman.

My mom later remarried and this man “adopted” us. When I was 17 he walked out.

When this new guy ( step dad #2 ) came around, I was a bit jaded to male figures in my life at that point as “dad”.

Hear me out on this… I’ve made my peace a long time ago with it all. I’ve not allowed it to define me or make me bitter or angry. I’ve not carried it along with me as baggage. I’ve not held onto hurts that I can take out and pet when I’m feeling sorry for myself. Like all things in life, I believe it has strengthened and defined me as a woman. It is what it is, I can be bitter or I can deal with it and move on and that’s what I’ve done.

Oh of course, years ago, I did ask all the questions. I did ponder the “whys” of it. I did wonder why two men didn’t wanna stick around in my life.

I asked all the hard questions. I got answers for some things, some I didn’t.

And I let it go. Nothing would change what was.

My “step” dad.

He married my mom the year after I was married.

He never tried to set himself up as my dad. As an adult, I called him by his first name from day one.

His personality was a bit gruff, rough and stoic. He didn’t often reveal a lot about himself. He had his own quirky things that we all came to jokingly love and tease about.

Rough and not sometimes “polished”, he would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He would help you if you had any need.

As the years went by and he was still around, he just did those things dads would do.

If I had car problems, I called and he’d come rescue me. If I needed help with anything, he was willing to do what he could.

When my husband was in school and things were tight I can remember him and my mom dragging bags of groceries in telling us “they had been at the store and just thought we might need a couple things”

When we started having babies, he always wanted us to have what we needed. He loved picking things out for them.

He bragged on me to anyone who would listen. Even now, with his memory slipping away, one of his caretakers told me one day when I stopped…. “Oh, you’re the runner. I’ve heard all about you”

Life just settled into routine and the years went by…

He was eventually diagnosed with Alzheimers a few years before my mom passed away.

They celebrated 30 years of marriage shortly before  her death ( 2 years ago) then the  mantle of “Caretaker” fell on my shoulders.

It has not been easy watching this disease take a horrible toll on him. It is heartbreaking when he asks if it’s ok to use things in his house… or if it’s REALLY his house.

I have to remind him to eat, tell him he needs to take off his shirt before he puts on another one otherwise he will have “layers”, and try and convince him it’s not winter, but summer and he doesn’t need to wear heavy coats.

Looking at photos this passed weekend, he saw some of my mom, and when asked who she was he said… “your mother”…. yet… was unable to come up with her name.

He has days when he’s almost like himself and those are nice. I’ve just gone through “hell week” as this past week was awful with him being angry, temperamental and very uncooperative.

Those days are draining. They make me feel helpless. Tired. Overwhelmed.

I sometimes don’t know which way to go and what to do. I feel a heavy level of responsibility to make sure his needs are met in the best way possible.

He doesn’t always know it, but I’m what he’s got. I’m his advocate.. standing in the gap and fighting for him….Some days I feel so inadequate.

That’s often what you feel like as a parent isn’t it?

Somehow, our roles have been reversed. I try and give him the freedom and dignity as the grown man he is, while remembering mentally, I’m dealing with someone more childlike and have to guide and protect for his best interests.

So, we celebrated Fathers Day yesterday.

He may or may not have totally gotten what the entire day was about.

He may or may not have read and understood the cards or the writing on them.  He may not be able to retrieve the memories in the photos that were shared with him or the names of people. They could be lurking in his mind like ghosts of yesterday or play out like stories from another life in his mind.

32 years have gone by since he entered my life. Those years have contained all the things that make up our lives…. from the normal mundane, to the fun and exciting, the sorrows, and joys, laughter and tears… he’s been there.

So yeah, I dropped the “step” thing a very long time ago. At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, it’s simply about being family, isn’t it?

And family is anyone, I believe, who we bring into our lives to embrace and accept as such.

Running, Tattoos, And Muscles

Yesterday I made a trip back to see my sports doctor. I haven’t seen him since last summer when I was in for my running injury.

I bit the bullet ’cause the crazy thing has never gone away.  After seeing him, then my visits to do Airrosti in December, it was still hanging around.

And being a runner my stubborn thought was…. “well, if it’s gonna be there and bother me whether I’m running or not, I might as well run. If it doesn’t get any worse…. go.”

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Did I say I was stubborn ? Head strong? Willful ? Why do I hear my mother in my head ? haha

Realistically, I know it needs to be fixed so I can really get back out there and run like I want to run.

So… it was back to see him… to see what was going on.

The first thing he says,  grabbing my arm, “that’s cool… you got a new tattoo!”

Seriously? A doctor that remembers what ink you have on your arm ? And that you got a new piece ?

I did get new ink a few weeks ago… and it looks like this… I totally love it.

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Did I mention he’s cool ?  He’s also an athlete so he understands you not just from a medical perspective but an athletic one as well. He asks about goals and plans you have.

A quick assessment put me right into the (still) diagnosis of insertional Achilles tendonitis.  Ugh.

Soooo I will be icing…lots of icing it several times a day … using a topical ointment…. and…. rest from running…. as in….none.

Whatever.

So that puts me more into being confined and focusing on strength training… as in lifting heavy things and working on building those muscles while my feet recover.  I will also incorporate boxing into it ( great cardio) and I can still be out on my bike as long as it doesn’t cause any pain. That at least lets me get the miles under me that I  crave. I really wanna get a rowing machine since that is the perfect all over body work ( in my opinion) and it’s something else to add to what I do.

Actually, since my miles have been so reduced these past months, I have added more muscle ( ha… not burning it off)  😛 I don’t mind having the muscle… I just need to adapt with my jeans =)

Adapt.

Sometimes I embrace that word, other times, I loathe it.

The definition says to make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify. To change so it functions better. Interestingly, it’s a verb.

Adaptation and adapting are active processes.

My body ( yours too) and the activities we put them through can definitely be an adapting process.

Weight loss, weight gain, building muscle, getting older, exercise, strength training.. so many things make our bodies change… aren’t they amazing things?

But then there are these times I have to adapt to what is going on with my body.

Recovery is not a patient place for me. Therefore, I am learning to adapt even more.

No running means using other activities to get in my cardio. It also means spending more time in strength training… and this activity will change my body differently from running.

I’ve learned these past few years as an athlete that my body can change a lot depending on what I’m doing to it.

I loved how I looked at the peak of my marathon/50K training last year. Lean and chiseled running 55-65 miles a week, I was burning off way more than I was taking in… and truthfully…sitting in the very low end of my weight range.

The reality is, I can’t stay in that top “peak” of training all the time. Our bodies aren’t designed for it. I’ve learned my body will change a bit in off season.

I’ve learned to adapt to that reality.

Now I’m adapting to the constraints of injury.

Adapt. Change. Transform.

It’s a big part of life isn’t it ?

What about you? Have you learned this process, whether in life, or in the way you have to handle your body ? Do you fight against it or embrace the change it brings ? What has adapting taught you ?

 

 

 

 

 

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 ?

 

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.

Dan and Cathie Xmas
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 ?

 

 

 

 

 

Life Is Beautiful

life is beautiful

Life is beautiful. It’s really pretty amazing, isn’t it ? For a brief moment in time we’re given this glorious gift by our Creator to live out to our fullest.

New days. New moments. New opportunities.

Life can be glorious and beautiful and also full of struggles, hardships and down right overwhelming moments that leave us on our faces wondering if we will have the strength to stand for another day, and another shot, at this thing called life.

None of us move through this world immune to the difficulties that are a part of it. As much as we have good times and are blessed like crazy the hard stuff goes along with it.

Kinda like a painful ying/yang thing.

I was chatting with my childhood friend not so long ago ( ok, that is one of life’s blessings isn’t it? To still have a wonderful friendship with someone you’ve known since 5th grade??) and we were discussing lots of different things

When she tells me this…..

With you, I know you have all this energy and you’re always bouncing around, but I don’t get that kind of stressed-out, nose-to-the-grindstone kinda thing . Your vibe is so HAPPY, like even though you have a million things going it feels like you’re having a good time at the same time, you know?

Wow. I won’t lie … that meant a lot to me.

It meant a lot that in some ways as I moved through stuff in my life I’m able to still maintain a positive kinda attitude. When I share stuff on my personal Facebook page I try and maintain a positive vibe, even when I’m going through rough stuff. I will share things that are going on in my life that are hard, but I (over all) feel like those taking time to read my stuff have their own issues and don’t need me being down in my posts. It’s a choice I make.

I thanked her and shared with her several things I was currently dealing with… the real hard stuff.

No. My life isn’t perfect. I’m not, nor my family, often not daily circumstances, or situations I can’t control or other things that can come along.

Actually, nothing in life is “perfect” is it ? We do learn to appreciate the good times and blessings we receive, but hopefully, we learn how to stand, learn, and grow in the tough times.

Therefore, even when I’ve been in some of the thickest parts of the most painful experiences of my life, I try and keep in mind, life… beautiful, glorious life…. is still going on. I can take the good with the bad, the pain with the joy and embrace it or I can become hardened and bitter in the process.

My life has been blessed in more ways than I can count.  Sometimes I wonder what I’ve done to deserve such blessings. Really, I’ve done nothing. To me, God has blessed me, beyond measure.

In the past few years though, I’ve gone through many sorrows, difficulties, and much pain.

For example:

Child issues… it can be a rocky journey getting them to adulthood. There were many sleepless nights and a lot of tears with my kids.

My brother unexpectedly dying a few years ago. Holding my sobbing mother as we stood over his lifeless body, somewhere inside, I was screaming but it never seemed to make it’s way out. I drew on the strength that has always seemed to live in me as I helped her through those days. Yet as we moved through those days and months, I tried to find the beauty of life, and more importantly the beauty of what he saw in life. It was a surreal process we moved through.

My moms gradual declining health and struggle with various illnesses eventually led to her death last year. The sorrow of losing her and dealing with her affairs has been challenging at times. There are days I’m still wondering… how does one live in this world without a Mom ? And then I remember, I live in the ways she taught me. To be a strong woman and to handle what needs to be dealt with. When I do these things I honor her and her memory lives on.

Taking over care of my dad who has Alzheimers. He has declined a lot since her passing last year.  It’s a horrible disease that is awful to watch taking over. When a grown man shows up on your door step wanting to know where he lives and how long he’s lived there, it breaks your heart in fresh new ways, mainly because there’s nothing you can do to change things. He’s I tears. I’m in tears.

Trying to decide what things will be best for him and how to help him leave me sleepless at night because I feel so inadequate.

My husband went through a career change last year after 22 years of the same work. There are many new adventures with that, but those are areas that are private to us, therefore I won’t share much on the topic. Again, something new and challenging in life.

Of course then, this past summer, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which was an interesting speed bump in our lives. He is doing great and the prognosis is very good but we are still taking the necessary medical steps needed to make sure he is totally cancer free. We are beyond grateful for how everything seamlessly came together for rapid surgery, doctor appointments etc. Grateful that he has been able to return to work and that he is getting stronger.

Then let’s not forget just other things that can show up like an unexpected house guest on any day.

In all of that…in all of LIFE…. I had a choice. I could keep embracing each day as good that held blessings ( even in the midst of hardship, sorrow or difficulties) or I could curl up and become bitter, ask the “why” question and miss out on all the fun, good, lovely and beautiful things that were still happening.

It really is a choice, isn’t it ? Oh, don’t get me wrong. There were days I wondered if I could stand. There were nights I’d creep into the shower, let the water wash over me, and sob in the corner  praying for strength to keep moving forward.  I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you I hit those struggles like anyone else. I didn’t feel strong…. or courageous then… I felt weak and helpless.

Maybe it’s how we are individually wired? Maybe it’s the faith each one of us may possess?

Perhaps, it’s a stubbornness in me that chooses to see the beauty of life, even as it has the nerve to keep moving forward while I’m in my pain, difficulties and struggles… life keeps moving on…

In my loss. In my grief. In my sleepless nights. In my struggles.

Life is beautiful people.

In the midst of all that makes up life, the good, the bad, the joy, the sorrow, don’t allow moments to be stolen from you that can be embraced.

We might not have a choice over the things that happen in our lives but we definitely have a choice in how we respond and how we embrace life in it.

cry or dance

You my friend… have a choice.

In the words of one of my favorite Sixx A.M.  songs called Life is Beautiful……….

 Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.

Always.