Friday, December 9, 2011

Making Merry

Starbucks new seasonal coffee is  named
"Lets Merry!" But in my head
it's really titled "Let's Make Merry!"

~~Happy Six Word Friday! Melissa's prompt was: MAKE.

So here's to 100 more people taking/making time to vote for "My Chocolate Brown Friend" in the MeeGenius Author Challenge. Voting only takes a minute (truly) and it will make my day, and possibly my year! Thank you! :o)~~

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thank me Later

The last "normal" thing I remember is that it was September and I was clocking in gobs of miles every weekend. Just getting amped up for the Chicago Marathon.

I also recall recovering from the race and starting physical therapy. Deciding to add another class at the last minute of my fall term. Finishing the semester and deciding not only will I double up this term, but I'll also take on a part time job at Macy's in anticipation of a Christmas with the family in Kansas.

And when I woke up I had written a children's book and apparently entered it into the MeeGenius Author's Challenge.

So yeah, I'm excited. But I'm pretty sleepy as well. And I think that's okay, because if I were fully cognizant of how awesome these last four months have been my head would most likely explode.

And I need my head because I'm taking the Illinois Basic skills test today. The first step in my teacher certification process.

I feel like I should break out in rap to commemorate the moment, but I'll spare you and instead let my husband receive the brunt of my lyrical skillz :o)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Kids these days

I don't think children as a 
species have evolved too much from 
their earlier selves. Happy homo sapiens
who live to eat, love, play. 

Not a bad set-up.  Still their 
small worlds can also be shaped
significantly by forces outside their control.

How can one protect a child
in a world that's rough around 
it's edges? By telling them stories

Lore about the past, cannons about
a future, scrolls that illuminate potential.

Lovely is not always obvious, but 
we can teach our children how
to find it. That's the truth.

~~Today's Six Word Friday prompt is TRUE. And I truly want to thank Melissa for retweeting the link to my Children's Book that is currently resting at 20th place in the Meegenius Author Challenge. Please click the pink star to add your vote and take a while to ponder your truth.~~

Monday, November 28, 2011

Building Blocks

Right now I'm feeling excited, nervous, and a bit nauseous. I've entered two selections into the MeeGenius Author Challenge. And voting started today!

This is what I want and the type of "big break" I need. However, the thought of going against 300 other authors is a bit disconcerting.

It's a necessary experience through. The intense learning process of being judged and critiqued, chosen or discarded by the masses. The type of climb where you don't look down because you may become too startled to continue climbing.

My older sister has been saying that the light at the end of the tunnel is growing larger and larger. I believe her. But right now the image of a growing light has me visualizing oncoming trains.

So instead of worrying about being run over I'm going to conceptualize building blocks with my now officially 5 years old son. That's something I can handle.

Stacking one block on another, on another, on another...

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Funky Bunch

Funky, funky, funky.

That's been my mood has been of late. Just a nagging irritation about various things that I can not change. And I do not wish to release more negativity or stress into the atmosphere. We have enough drama as it is.

So let me instead relay how eternally grateful I am that mistakes and folly can be turned into bliss. How things that we once discarded can become our closest treasure.

One grand thing about life is that few experiences or choices are final. Most actions are continuous loops of cause and effect and effect and effect.

Meaning that even disastrous embarrassments can lead to enlightenment and growth. Failure can spur discovery. Loss can ignite freedom.

Sure the economy sucks, a football dynasty has fallen, politics are rotten, not to mention that the police still do bad things to ordinary people.

But each of these circumstances are catapulting us into action.

How can we build a more secure future for our children? Without banks or politician to count on can't we take the reins of our own future?

What will safeguard our children? Vigilance, renewed vigilance and courage can prevent more children from falling into the hands of waiting predators.

And who will lead our country out of this moral and fiscal slump? (Hint: It won't be Barack Obama or Herman Cain) As communities and individuals and groups will be the ones to take back our country. Not back to unchecked greed and inequality. But back to togetherness and community.

If we shake ourselves out of this slumber and put our hands to the grind maybe the funk will be lifted.

We won't know until we try.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

We are all Penn State

What can I say about the travesty that is the Penn State sex abuse debacle?

Nothing. There are no words in my mouth to form. I've talked with my husband about how some of the initial reactions by the Penn State student body and fans made me feel as someone who has been touched by this plague.

But what else is there for me to say. Reading the details and interviews and emails make me feel like a coward. Like I should have done more to draw attention to the pedophiles that were always in the peripheral when I was a child.

If I had screamed or called 911 when someone made me uneasy or caused the hairs or my arms to raise. Could I have better protected my sisters, myself, or the other girls known and unknown?

The music leaders, youth group volunteers, family friends who were open secrets of perversion. People we girls were warned to be wary of, but who were still given unmitigated access to us.

What is there to say? The evilness is there. It is here.

We are all Penn State.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Saving all my love

Saving all my pennies, and bundling 
up my clan. Heading cross the 
Midwest to love, laugh, and celebrate. 

The largest family Christmas since my
childhood. The eggnog, and jokes. Memories 
and gifts. Songs, skits, and plays. 

The stores did their best to 
beckon me today. But I'm saving 
all my pennies for This Christmas.

~~This week's Six Word Friday prompt was SAVING. While I'm penny-pinching in anticipation of the Holidays I am also trying to to curb my enthusiasm about the event. But that prospect is nearly impossible! In fact we're about two steps from actually counting down the days :o)~~

Friday, November 4, 2011

Things are getting better

While some aspects of our world
are contracting others are expanding. 

Let me explain what I mean:

When we hit rock bottom where 
else is there to go but up? 

When our families are divided how 
else is there to live but 
together? When our knowledge is limited 
what else is there to do 
but learn? And when our material
wealth is lost what else is
there but our valuable lives?

Do you see things getting better?

~~I have missed a few, but Happy Six Word Friday, everyone! I chewed on BETTER for a while and started to write based on a different twist, however this one appeared and it seemed more right.

I heard a member of the clergy speaking on ON BEING and he talked about the economic downturn being a grand opportunity to serve our neighbors. To love one another. To see a need and fulfill it. I am of the same persuasion.

Once we realize how much we have that can be given to others in service we will see how much better our sphere of the world can be.~~

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The pain of knowing

Monday found me sprawled across a patient table getting assessed for the source of my back pain. Strangely, I noticed myself thinking that it would be so much better if I didn't know the source of the problem. Then I wouldn't have to take action.

The physical therapist kept right on prodding the tender parts along my spine, and determined that my left side was substantially weaker than the right. Thereby putting immense pressure on my back.

All this new found knowledge made me feel depressive.
"Why was my back jacked up and my strength uneven?"
After all, I ran throughout summer and had just proven myself by completing a taxing marathon. Couldn't I catch a break?

I saw Oprah say somewhere that we should give ourselves a timed pity party, to get it out and over with. So, after about two minutes I had to check myself and realize this knowledge was empowering me to could change the situation.

People are always griping about how unfair or sucky life is. How things should go along differently.
Are we truly entitled to a life of fairness and bliss?
Where would our stories come from if not from the therapist's table?

I honestly and sincerely am not interested in another fitness regime right now. I have 5 classes to complete, the Basic Skills test to pass, and my freelance career to nurture. Not to mention a holiday job and volunteer activities that currently lay claim to my calendar.

But life isn't fair, and things do not always go according to plan.
 If my left side is weak I need to strengthen it.
That's the pain of knowing.  It's now my prerogative to turn it into the pleasure of doing.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bucket Lists

I remember my first To-Do List. Before I had even started high school I knew I wanted to be a cheerleader, date a jock, be the President of Student Council, and an Editor on Yearbook.

I'm not sure where my proclivity to track things came from but I can't remember a time when I did not have a running log of things to do inside my head.

And as fate/life/planning would have it I managed to check off everything off what could be dubbed my "Sweet Valley High"  list.

By the time I got to graduation I knew I wanted to go to a good school far away, but I had not formulated a To-Do List for college. Which may explain me bailing on the whole higher-ed enterprise once I experienced a curve ball, also known as my oldest son.

Next, was an extended period of No Lists. I had a spouse and children, but I was lost on what I wanted/could accomplish as an adult. Previously I had ideas on what I wanted to be, but since my route to adulthood was decidedly different than my dreams I felt sort of stuck. Like To-Do Lists would no longer be relevant because I hadn't followed a certain path.

Thinking back to my high school self, I recall a vague adult To-Do List that contained running a marathon, marrying and having children, writing books, becoming a newscaster, and owning a large house where my whole family could visit.

Only my definition of things to do has changed so radically since then.

While I still have concrete goals like writing books and owning land, there's no longer a running log in my head. My current To-Do List is more like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book.

There are definitely turns I want to take, but I am now more open to the unexpected plot twists than I once was.

I find more value in acknowledging various experiences/goals I'd eventually like to accomplish versus planning out an elaborate road map for my life.

Life happens. Shit happens. Our lives need not follow a "Sweet Valley High" storyline to be well-lived.

I guess you could say this post is really me reminding myself to just live, because the bucket will fill itself.

Friday, October 21, 2011

A very Happy Pre-Birthday

Today is the pre-birthday of my lovely mother, Jacqueline.

She is the sweetest woman I know. Her love for her children and family is a never-ending embrace. I can only hope I give the same care and acceptance to my own boys, because its the kind she's always given me. Not to mention she has always been my one woman cheer squad.

I love you forever, Diva Mama :o)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Becoming a better quitter

Ever since I discovered Podcasts in the iTunes store I've been hooked. Especially to all things Freakonomics.

Their most current show was about a peculiar topic: The upside of Quitting.

It seems like an oxymoron, but apparently there is scientific evidence to back up the virtue of letting things go.

Listening to the hosts and professionals discuss the need to know when to cut our losses made me ponder the times I knew I needed to "quit" something, but couldn't bring myself to do it. Whether my pride was saying I'd look like an idiot, or peer pressure was telling I'd look like an idiot.

I can recall vividly ignoring my heart and charging ahead because of fear.

And I'm not sure whether it's age, wisdom, or a natural propensity to quit, but letting go has gotten easier and easier over the last few years. At least in the aspect dropping activities that no longer bring pleasure, knowledge, peace.

Basically the things I really want to do, like write, run, and spend time with my family are more and more important to me. Whereas proving myself to others is not so much anymore.

It's like over the course of this very year I've quit caring what random people may have to say. Especially people who don't know the real me.

Knowing that quiting can measurably increase my wealth, health, and happiness (according to the Freakanomics guest) is enough to take away any "Shame in my game."

I'm actually wondering if there is anything new I need to quit, like attitudes or harmful behaviours. Any habits that need replacing. But like all things worth keeping, those insights will manifest over time.

So in the meantime I'll quit typing and get back to my podcast :o)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cry if I Wanna

After weeks and weeks of preparation and building anticipation I ran and finished the 2011 Chicago Marathon.

My body is healing up pretty well. I can feel my ankles again and my stomach no longer feels like a bottomless pit. My voice is still scratchy, nonetheless, I am a marathon finisher!

When I wrote to the Sun Times requesting entrance to the closed race I put in my essay that training and running a marathon was a solitary task. Something only I could do.

That logic is a bit off the mark. Yes, it was my feet hitting the ground that got me across the finish line, but it was also the care and support of my husband and the training tips from my Run Fairy that made all the difference.

My ankles gave my issues throughout the training process so I was a little concerned about what would happen after 5 hours of running. And sure enough I felt their fury. But seeing my husband pop up every few miles with his "Go LaLa!" sign helped to keep my mind from dwelling on the pain.

When I finally reached mile 24 I was completely spent and knew I wouldn't see Marcus again until after the finish line. Tears started to fill my eyes because  I was so tired both physically and emotionally.

Then I look up and my Fairy Run Mother is standing there with a smile. It was like she had just appeared before my eyes. And she just started talking.

"How are you feeling?" "You're gonna finish this!" "I've got gear for your boys." "You're such a big success!"
 As we made our way (she walking, me limping) toward the 25 mile marker she was whipping up cheers from the crowd to encourage me the whole way.
When I saw the 25 mile line I told her I was going to run it in. She smiled and trotted slightly ahead to clear the way and provide motivation. My Run Mother stayed with me until I got to the final 800 meters and told me to go.

I cried the whole way in. It was the 'ugly cry' so thank goodness my sunglasses acted as a barrier to my face.

But the love I felt from my husband, my fairy, and the city of Chicago made me so full. Achy, but full.

So today is my 29th birthday, but I feel as through Sunday was the real celebration of my 29 years on this earth.

Hey, it was my party....

Friday, October 7, 2011

Helluva Job

"Why not?" said Steve. Why not
live your dream? Why not pursue 
passion, adventure, and spice? Why not
love, laugh, cry, and fail? "Follow
your heart", said Steve. It knows
what you want. Connect the dots.
Experience love and loss. And Death.

Steve Jobs lived a helluva life.
And we must live ours too.

~~Steve Jobs, the Founder of Apple died this week. Most of my life I thought myself to be a PC, but it turns out I'm a Mac. Listening to his words, and revisiting his nuggets of wisdom have been an inspiration. Steve Jobs was passionate about technology and innovation. Wouldn't it be grand if his death continued to spark and drive us toward new frontiers, as his life did?

The prompt for Six Word Friday was: Why Not. The perfect prompt for an awesome guy.~~

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Another day; Another dollar

I've been writing guest posts for my school for a few months now and I always get a little thrill when they go live.

Western Governors University has a completely unique take on education and community. I have never met another student, yet I feel as though we're all connected. Much more so than the other schools I attended.

So after I got the tweet that my most recent post was up I ran and told my grandma (tongue-in-cheek) about "The new post I wasn't getting paid for!" :o)

She smiled, and said "That's okay, baby, cause that's some good writing"

Nothing like a Granny to stroke your ego!
And truthfully, I agree. Not that my writing is so good. But the fact that "It is okay" that I'm not receiving monetary compensation.

All we can think about is the late Steve Jobs today, and he said something that I have felt in my heart for a long time. Below is his quote paraphrased...

"When something gives you pleasure, it may have no measurable merit at the time. The fact that you are curious enough to learn/apply/do something is merit enough. The skills or life lessons we acquire as we're going along tend to pan out and become quite applicable at different points of our lives."

So the musings I write for WGU don't pay cash money, but the exposure, the feedback, the give and take of the community may come in handy somewhere else down the road. The intangibles I am gaining are worth the time and effort.

That's the way with life and relationships. Sometimes you just go along for the joy of the ride. Even if you aren't sure of the final destination.

Monday, October 3, 2011

What don't kill me

I've been resisting this post for about a week now. For the simple fact that I haven't run the actually marathon yet, I feel kinda weird saying what running has taught me.

But I can't get the words out of my head. And when that happens, it means I need to write.

By far the biggest lesson training for this marathon has taught me is the important of just shutting up and putting the miles in. Thinking and philosophising have their respective times and places but out on the trail isn't one of them.

At some point the mind has got to stop and the body has got to go.

I would have never gotten my distance up from 1 mile to 20 miles by thinking about the run, I had to just run. And I was so scared when I started. It seems irrational now, but I was terrified.

Nervous I'd hit the wall, which I haven't. Scared I'd fall and break my ankle, which I haven't. Nervous I'd just could not take the miles, but I have.

I truly have taken the miles.  And no matter what my finishing time is on Sunday Oct. 9, 2011 I know that I really can run and train for a marathon. A marathon that was randomly waiting on my bucket list to be completed before I turned 30.

Running has made me stronger. Not just my legs and lungs, but me.

The lady running 26.2 miles three days before her 29th birthday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Climb

we knew this year would mean
a change of pace. mom studying
and writing. boys in their brand 
new school. dad home for an 
extended stay with the whole family

we're settling & finding comfort as one.

~~Today's Six Word Friday prompt was: PACE. Why I wrote in lowercase? I don't know. Let's just call it creative experimentation :o) Or a change of pace!~~

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wait for it

Have you ever made a decision? A solid thought-through-makes-sense decision.

Only to begin second guessing yourself after you have lived with your choice for a while. In your reasonable adult mind and you realize that the logic that brought you to this place  is still correct. And the choice is still right.

But now you are itchy. Because deciding can be decidedly easier than doing. Doing can get tricky.

When that itchy feeling comes it can be difficult to stay with our 1st mind and stick to our guns. We may be tempted to revert back to the old ebb and flow of things.

Our mind tells us that we jumped the gun and dove into these new endeavors/behaviors/worldviews too soon.

Yet if we listen to our heart it still knows what's right. And other times if we're lucky (or particularly stubborn) life/fate/the universe won't allow us to retract or retreat from our new standard. We just have to ride it out because turning around would be worse than our present discomfort.

Things have a way of working themselves out when we allow them to do so. In our minds, always in ours hearts, and sometimes through our superior adult reasoning we manage to "come around" . :o)

Here comes the sweet part. 

When we eventually wake up (again) to the realization that our 1st mind was right. Challenging at times, but right.

That's when we take a deep breath, re-focus, and just wait for it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Slowly Surely

Have you noticed how much more poignant all the footage from September 11th was during this 10th Anniversary. More so than in any year prior?

Did time not ease the wound, or did we just come to fully realize all that was lost in the attacks?

In our rush to return to normalcy and seek justice we may have missed out on the reflection and healing process that only time can bring.

My husband and I spent this weekend running a Fort2Base 10 Nautical race commerating 9/11, American Vets, and our fallen brothers-in-arms. It was a cathartic way to gather with like-minded individuals and pay tribute to other Americans.

But in all the running and gaiety the somber mood of the nation was not lost. On September 11, 2001 we lost not only countless lives, but a sense of invinciblity we all held so dear.

If there is one lesson I have learned from this tragedy it is to allow time to heal wounds, mend hearts, and clear minds. Immediate reactions/responses will not necessarily lead to future comfort.

May we endeavor to slowly but surely band together and heal our land.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Back Seat Drivers

Three in the backseat, and me 
in the front. That's how we 
have most of our lively conversations. 

Today Preston asked if God really 
exists. Yesterday Marcus  wondered about the 
Civil War. Jonathan wants to know 
when he will finally turn 8 
or 9, because he's already been
4 longer than anyone he knows. 

They ask and I tell them
as much as I can tell. 
And that's how most of our 
conversations happen. Always on the move.

~~My Mac Book is out of commission due to spilled coffee. Still crying over that one. But I couldn't miss Six Word Friday, especially with a prompt like MOVE!~~ ;O)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Like it's my last

There's nothing like the problems of another to make you more fully appreciate the goodness in your own life.

The grass always seems greener on the other side, until you discover that there's a spider infestation over there as well. Then you look back at your own brown grass and smile. It may not be the most green, but it's yours and it's safe.
Tomorrow will take care of itself
Sometimes we focus so much on getting ahead, and doing better, and attaining success that we forget to just enjoy the present. Discomfort and all.

There's a peace in learning how to soak in the awkwardness and growing pains of today, as if we will never see them again. Because in reality we won't pass through the same phases of life twice.

Circumstances may be appear similar, but most likely they will vastly different.

We will be different. Different in our perspectives, different types of problems. We will be at different places in our lives.

It can be so hard to shut out the peripheral noise and just live our present lives.

But this is the last time you will be this age, in this month, in this year, in this house. In that city, with that boss, and that shirt.

You may never move or travel in your entire life, but the moments you will experience today will not happen the same way twice.

Try to savor them, like they are your last.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Free Markets

Knowledge passing from Teacher to Students
Transferring wisdom from Elder onto Sons

The Master mentoring a young Seeker

All worthy exchanges in the market-place

of Free Ideas, Exploration, and Growth

~~The prompt for this SIX WORD FRIDAY was Exchange...check it out! But before you go, tell me, what is worthy of exchange to you? What is a fair deal in the quest for growth?~~

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Steady Breathing

It's amazing what the human mind can do.

Your brain can make you believe running 26.2 miles is do-able. It can cause you to discover new truths and question past assumptions.

Our minds control every aspect of our lives. Who we love, like, talk to. Whether we try, quit, or endure. The dialogues we conduct in our mind, day in and day out, shape our reality.

Do we believe that ANYTHING is possible? And if it is, are we personally capable of achieving anything?

Some people believe in miracles. They just don't believe miracles happen to them.

Others believe that human individuals produce the  "miracles" by "blessing" themselves and passing it forward to others.  But what it really boils down to is...

What do you believe?

Not the heeby-geeby believe. The what-do-I-say-to-myself-every-day believe!

The "I can get out of bed 10 mins early to meditate" believe. And the "My children will succeed" believe. Or the "I love my family for who they are, not what they do" believe.

I'm working on the "Forward Progress!" believe. The "I'm tired, but not enough to quit" believe.

Because I know that as long as I'm steady breathing I'm getting closer to my dreams.

And that's what I truly believe.

~~What do you tell yourself everyday? Or when you need inspiration? How do you "get your mind right"? Let me know in the comments :o)~~

Friday, August 26, 2011

Smoke and Mirrors

I may look like an dreamer

going out on a limb again. 

Or a tad bit crazy while 

I stand waving at the mirror. 

Know I'm busy dissipating the smoke

that tries to feed my fears.

It's not easy, just worth it.

~~Today's Six Word Friday prompt was EASY.

Many people believe success is easy, I know I did as a child and young adult. But if you lift the mirror on truly forward moving people: they are working their ass off. Dreaming is the easy part, implementation takes sweat!

Happy Six Word Friday people. Here's to hard work!~~

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I. Am. Legend.

Why do we get so afraid of failure? Why do we quit when we're so close to our goals.

I was on Twitter the other day and @HopeClark, an awesome writer and blogger I follow, re-tweeted a link of lame excuses writers make. It made me think of my own fears.

One of the excuses listed, is that we writers don't have any connections. It's common knowledge that in many industries WHO you know is more important than WHAT you know.

Well, according to that list, writing isn't one of those industries.

It made me think of my dearth of published articles, and exactly how much being a published writer means to me. And I had to ask myself why I hadn't sent any queries, or articles out lately.

The answer was simple. Because my first two pieces had been turned down and ignored. In that order. I wasn't sure what to write next and I didn't want to "bother" any editors by constantly sending them queries.

But fresh off of Twitter  yesterday I typed out a 300 word piece, and sent it out before I could tell myself otherwise.


Oh my goodness, I can't tell you how good it felt to read that acceptance email. I had been so close to letting my queries fall by the wayside. But one more submission put me closer to where I wanted to be!

I recently read The Alchemist and in it a shepherd boy is admonished to follow his dreams, follow them past his fears and limitations. His "mentor", a wise King, tells him that he will experience success immediately after choosing to pursue his Personal Legend.

When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize his dream.  – page 121.
However, a time will come when his determination will be tested beyond what he has ever known. It is at this point that most people give up.

Right before they reach true fulfillment, they allow fear/fatigue/rejection make them quit. So perhaps this was my success before the storm.

I'm going to soak it up because I earned it. And use it to remind myself to keeping on keeping on.

All the way to my Personal Legend.

~~Do you feel as through you have something you MUST accomplish while on this earth? What is it? Do you share your treasure with others, or is it your knowledge alone?~~

Monday, August 22, 2011


Have you ever watched in slow-motion as a friend/relative/lover slipped away from you. As the two of you lost the intimacy you once had?
It isn't sudden or anything. Not even absolute. Just a gradual slipping away.
Your spirits begin to disconnect and you watch it from afar. Is it becasue the bond has expired? Was the realtionship only for a little while or to learn a lesson.

Sometimes as we are moving forward others who we love are simply moving in another direction, or no direction at all.
This isn't about "status", but mind/thought-process or productivity.
One is studying, another is playing video games. You are getting certification, the other is shopping. Your table is filled with sight words and multiplication tables for your children, while theirs....well it's empty because they aren't home.

And the choices our friends make are just choices. Their decisions of how to allocate their time. And sometimes our choices cause us to drift apart.

What can you say when that happens, but goodbye, I love you, see you around...
"I'm glad you were my friend"
Its good to know when to stop hanging on so tightly and to instead let nature take it's course. You may in fact meet your friend at another "port" along the way.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Why do people run?

One evening my husband and I
came across information on a local
race. I picked the small one
and he went with the large.

Then, weeks later in the barber-shop
we came across free entries to
the Chicago Marathon. I picked that
also. Unexpected was the enthusiasm of
running everyday. The aches caught me
by surprise too. My poor legs.

Last night as I reached my
11th mile, I asked myself, "Why
do people run?" The answer, was
quite unexpected. "Because they want too."

~~I am developing a love/hate relationship w/Nike+...the joy of peaceful runs is awesome, the pain of frequent runs...not so much.

Melissa sent out UNEXPECTED as the Six Word Friday writing prompt and running seemed to fit in nicely. Feel free to join in on Unexpected prompts each Friday!~~

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Long time coming

I am training and training and training for the Chicago Marathon. I'm not sure how "ready" I can be, but I know I want to be readier :o)

My personal best is  currently 13mins a mile at a max of 5.3miles. Which is big for me. It's kinda half-way to the goal for my Sept. 11th race of 11miles (still not close to 26.2miles though)

I'm beginning to learn that running is just as much mental as it is physical. I was watching a YouTube video of a woman relating her first marathon experience. She talked about running and knowing in her head a hill would eventually be in her path.

So to prepare she told herself that she loved hills. Which sounds sort of funny. Until you're sweating and tired and you see a hill.

Yesterday was one of those days that I had to tell myself how much I LOVED hills, and the sun, and winding trials....

And it pretty much worked. My feet didn't grow wings, but I was able to keep running/jogging. Like mind over matter.
Yet the thing I fear the most is THE WALL.
Which is runner-speak for exhaustion.  You know you're at the wall when you've reached the point of quitting both mentally and physically.

Perhaps the most accurate description of success as a runner and a person is hitting the wall and climbing over it. Limping maybe, but climbing over anyway.

One run at a time. All I can do is prepare one run at a time.
I love the Sun. I love hills. And I heart winding trials.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

BMF seeks sunshine

No-one wanted less error than I.
No mistakes, no mishaps, no life.

I couldn't/wouldn't fail to do anything
but shut myself into tiny boxes
with no room to grow out.
No errors, just trials and trials
and trials. Boy, was that futile.

And I'm glad I now know.

That Trials are half the equation.
Error is essentially pivotal, a must.

So I'll take your trial and
raise you an error, and stubbornly
seek the sunshine in both obstacles.

~~~~I spent this week internet-lessly in Kansas with my mom. Transporting my Diva Granny's to her new home.

Consequently, I have had plenty of space to think about trial and error. And I realized how far I've come in accepting them both as proof of life vs. proof of idiocy.

Hindsight I suppose.

Or maybe it has spawned from having to deal with the sleep of my elders. Processing their death is causing me to more fully appreciate the kinks and twists in my own life.

During the home-going events of my Great Granny and Uncle, I learned that they made many mistakes/mishaps/disasters but they continued to live life and bless their posterity with their presence and wisdom.

If they made peace with their errors, I should as well. I no longer think a good man is without errors, he's just learned to apologize/adjust.

So, here's to SIX WORD FRIDAYS and accepting out trials and errors~~~~

Map Quest

Thinking back on two years ago, the degree to which I did not want to return to Chicago was not to be understated.

My husband and I had wed abruptly after high school and immediately began traveling. We never really looked back, just on to the next one. So the thought of returning home wasn't pleasant.

But now, with the wisdom of hindsight, I would not have had it any other way.

How else would I  have regained confidence in my professional abilities, if not by being hired, fired, hired, resigning, and being hired anew?

How else would my husband's dear Granny have decided to join our little family on our next move with the Army, if not by us returning home to beseech her.

And my Diva Granny, she may have died without someone to coax her, cry for her, and push her toward a safer living environment.

Coming home was not in my road-map. But the resulting experience has opened my eyes to a larger plan. A personal legend if you will.

One that believes detours are sometimes OK. Essential even.

As I sit in the terminal, readying to leave Kansas and my Diva Granny in my mother's care, and return to Chicago....the peace/joy and contentment I feel is indescribable. We don't always "GET" our paths right away, but that's OK.

Because hindsight is 20/20.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Slippery slopes and other fallacies

How easy it is to say
"NO!" So simple to withhold rights,
freedoms, and other endeavors from individuals.

In the name of Simplicity. For certainly,
if we grant adults true freedom,
they will choose a complicated path,
which will lead to more confusion.

And all those options will be
vastly confusing, it is better to
limit their choices. Limit the rights
of reasonable adults. In the name
of Simplicity. I emphatically say "NO!"

I speak out to say "NO!"
It is not acceptable to withhold
equitable rights for the majority's convenience.

We should address issues and complications
on their individual merits. We must
speak now, not holding our peace.

~~A late afternoon conversation with a loved one sparked a piece for this SIX WORD FRIDAY topic "Speak". Just when I though I was out, she pulled me back in  :o)~~

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

In it to WIN it

Sitting in the barbershop a few weeks ago my husband noticed the paper was giving away a few entries to run in the 2011 Chicago Marathon.

Using his smartphone, I penned a 100 word essay to enter the contest. And found out yesterday that I won a slot!

My goal had been to run the marathon for my 30th birthday. I'm a year early I guess.

I've already been training for a race on the base, but now the CM makes each run more urgent. This (now 3-week) heatwave is not making training easy by ANY stretch of the imagination!!!

Trying to rid myself of nervous energy, I've been checking out blogs and articles on racing as a rookie and one that really stuck with me was His initial advice was to define why you were racing in the first place.

My answer wasn't hard to ascertain.
"I'm racing to prove to myself that I truly believe in living my best life, even when that means times are tough. I don't run away scared or worse...quit."
  Talk is cheap, but I'm truly in this life to win. Not just race. Not walk away or give up.

Race day in October may find me walking or running past the finish line, but either way I plan to finish. That's winning to me.

Especially since it's a year early :o)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life in Death

We buried my grandmother Saturday afternoon. And the process, the whole mourning/remembering/homegoing process was rather cathartic.

My sis and I spent Thursday night sipping wine and talking with my grandpa and aunt. It was probably the realest/rawest conversation I've ever had with him. And I didn't realize just how much I needed it.

The four of us, plus my eldest on the floor watching "Victorious", exorcised a few demons.
You know those pesky things that cause you to mimic the poor behaviors of your ancestors, sometimes without realizing it.
And I couldn't help but think that although, one of my libraries is forever closed, that of my dear great grannie Laverne...I thank god grandpa is still open for business.

Because the wisdom he shared brought life to our hearts in the midst of death.

This morning I received word that another member has passed. My great uncle. And as I steel myself for the continued aging/sleep of my elders, I will endeavor to look for life/wisdom/clarity in death.

Its the least I can do in their honor.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

99 years is a long time

My great grandmother passed today. She was 99 years old.

I saw her last year and she knew the difference between my mother and I. Which was quite a feat since she had a bit of dementia and people often confuse me for my mom.

My boys got to meet her and draw her pictures of grass and other randomness. She appreciated their art and ate ice cream with them.

Grandma Reed was a tough cookie. Alive to witness the great Mississippi Flood, segregation, Jim Crow, and many wars. She refused to leave MS, even when droves of blacks, including her husband left for the Promised Land that was the North.

Laverne stayed in her house until her 90's, when my Aunts begged/coerced her to finally join them in Chicago. She didn't come without a fight.

But thankfully she died without one. Granny ate breakfast, lunch, and laid down to nap. And heaven took her.

I once read a quote from a tribal leader in an Indian paper (Granny was part Indian), "When an elder dies, a library is lost."

Although I rejoice that my Granny is resting and free from pain, I still mourn the library of life/wisdom/sight that went with her.

Love your Grandparents while they are still here. While you can still read their "books".

~~CORRECTION: My great-grandmother lived for 97 years.~~

Friday, July 22, 2011

6 Things that could use a little love

Muslims, our countrymen,  all deserve love.

LGTQ youth need love to live.

Pregnant women the world over need love.

American children need education and love.

Innocent men need love, freedom, & lawyers.

You deserve love; give and receive.

~~~~~~I think love is like a boomerang. You send it off, but it will always come back to you. There are tons of ways to show love, click the links to find a way to LOVE someone on the list. 

Happy Six Word Friday! Check the meme out here :0)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Operation: Education

Next month, my oldest son will attend his sixth elementary school. Something I find to be a little disconcerting. It seems like my definition of “normal” is constantly being modified and adjusted to fit the needs of our three boys.

My husband has served in the US Army for 10 years, and while I consider our brood to be “Army Strong”, adjusting to new schools with each move may be one of the most un-fun parts of the job.  

Some changes have come as the result of orders to relocate, courtesy of Uncle Sam (from school #1 to #2). While other transfers were the product of dissatisfaction with the educational offerings in the local district (three weeks at school #3 then on to school #4).

And if that’s not enough readjustment, the most recent shake-ups were necessitated by my children needing mom nearer while dad was gone (from #4 to #5 were I worked). 

With my career solidly in the education field, keeping them close was feasible. But I realize that isn’t the case for most parents, and it probably won’t always be do-able for me either.

Which led my husband and I to choose a rigorous and close-knit parochial school (#6), where all three boys can attend together. 

Where parents are encouraged to volunteer and participate in the everyday activities, to become part of the family. Where parents are expected to be stakeholders in success.

How I wish I had known about this North Suburban gem two years ago! But things don’t always happen as we plan, or on our schedule.

In the back of my mind is the knowledge that one day the moving trucks will arrive again. And we will continue our story in another town, on a different post. 

Will there be  schools #7, 8, and 9? We’ll cross those bridges when we reach them... but like a true soldier’s wife...
I have accumulated some contingency tips and tricks, just in case.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Harry Potter and the Heat of Azkaban

The sun has gone down on the 3rd day of this Chicago heatwave. The Weather Channel says its 90 degrees, and we feel like 98!!
It's as if the words cannot form in my brain. I've managed to get some homework done, but not much else.

My boys have been on a Popsicle Diet all week, so they're not complaining. Grateful for small blessings :o)

Still, the only thing that can save me now is wizardry! I seemed to have missed a Harry Potter debut here or there over the last ten years. So my husband and I are marathon-ing them in an attempt to have a Friday night date with the FINAL CHAPTER. (cue eery music)

Oh, and by way of update, swim lessons have been going along swimmingly this week...

I hope you all are much cooler than we are here :o) Ciao

Friday, July 15, 2011

Generally speaking

Well...they got there somehow, right?
There couldn't have been a miraculous
moment, when suddenly things were as
they should be. By nature's law
there had to be labor involved.

The ease you're witnessing between that
couple, it took years of honesty
and communication. They worked at it.

Your neighbor's "rapid" ascent to the
top? It probably took 20 years.

Generally speaking, everyone starts at the
bottom. So, all the wishing and
hoping, and praying won't do you
any good without paying the price.

So I wonder, are your "dues" paid?

I am still paying every day.

~~I keep talking to people who are hoping for things. Hoping their relationships will improve. Praying their children will grow up to be self-sufficient. Wishing their future were brighter.

And I am having the darnedest time trying to keep myself from saying, "But what are you willing to DO?" Because that seems to be the real crux of the matter. What are we willing to do, to get what we want?

I want a closer/more intimate relationship with my husband, children prepared for life and achievement, to be respected as an expert among my professional peers, and possibly an adopted little brown daughter.

And there will most certainly be dues I will have to pay in order to have the things I I'm busying trying to pay them.

On a lighter note, I know Melissa would love for me to send you to her place to learn about Six Word Fridays! So that's what I'll do :o)~~

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stimulate your Mind, man!

I have no clue why that line in particular ("Stimulate your mind, Craig!!") by Chris Tucker in "Friday" has stick with me. But it has.

As a teen, my mom and I would randomly say those lines to each other or about people we met. It would always give us a good laugh.

But in all seriousness, giving our brains, bodies, and children different sources of information and enjoyment is the best way to achieve and maintain mental growth.

That things we don't use begin to shrivel/shrink/fade.

"Use it or Lose it"

My son reminded me of this fact around 10am this morning. I had started swim lessons for the boys several weeks ago, but took a week off. It ended up feeling like two weeks due to the holiday. So when we came back today he had lost his water confidence, just that quick.

The entire session was a struggle. He didn't want to get wet, submerge, float or play. It made me realize we have to keep at this swimming thing going in order to keep his senses stimulated and fully acclimated to the water.

Or take my ankles after an inaugural run yesterday. They were screaming bloody murder! I will have to work hard in order to keep them stimulated and strong. (Pass the ice pack, please!) :o)

Just food for thought, I suppose.

Tell me, how you stay stimulated? Through work? Play? Children? Share your view in the comments! :o)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Seeing past my shades

How is it possible to have your whole perspective change from one conversation? One profound conversation and the way you look at God, the world, and religion is turned on it's head.

My blogger friend Molly, wrote about New Eyes, or seeing things from another perspective and her words touched me then. But I suppose people weren't the only thing I needed to give another look.

Have you ever been angry. Like seething in rage and hurt, and you consciously decide to move on. The pain isn't necessarily gone. But you decide you are done dealing with it.

That's basically where I was in regard to God/religion. (Don't worry, this is NOT a religious blog, and will not become one!) :o)

I've been under-the-surface angry for many moons, now.

Angry that the bible was used against Blacks to terrorize and dehumanize their families/communities. Angry that scripture is used to deny LGBT people equal civil rights and respect.

Pissed that women are often subjugated because of religious beliefs. Pissed that some preachers attain prosperity on the backs of lower/middle income congregants.

Then, in a two hour conversation I was reminded of LOVE.
Because God is not in the HATE, injustice, subjugation, and manipulation. Men are. God isn't.

Reminded that love is universal. It's in the hall, synagogue, church, prison, brothel, mosque, temple, park, and hearts.

When love is in our hearts that is GOD.

And now I see it. I see it. Are all my issues with religion cleared up and disappeared? No.

However, I am definitely seeing past my shades, or beyond the things that have shaped my opinion/worldview/perspective.

This blog is mainly about introspection. With the purpose of living a truer, and more thankful life. So LOVE factors into that equation quite nicely.

Know what I mean?

Friday, July 8, 2011

One by One

There once was an unbroken line
of followers. Men, women, families. Who
all adhered to the king's decrees.
And it's possible the dynasty could
have lasted into eternity. But as
is so often seen in history,
his rule began to crumble on
the day his right hand man
'betrayed' him. And the end began.

The two of them were inserparable.
Birds of a feather. We'll never
know if the king offended his
knight, or if the knight had
visions of a throne for himself.

When the knight left, the peasantry
were told to ignore the development.
Refrain from asking questions amounsgt themselves.

Lest they too, be deceived. But
being the commoners that they were,
the ensuing conversations was quite uncontrollable.

"Why did the 'brave' knight leave?"
"How did he 'fool' the king?"
"If the King formerly sang his
praises, what was so different now?"

The questions went on an on,
until one day the commoners realized
the King was not infallible, indeed.

And they began to form a line,
a line of departure from a
demanding and punitive kingdom. Of course

some of the peasantry remained. However,
the dynasty was never the same.

~~This little fable is based on true events. Except the true story doesn't take place in a faraway land. Instead, it happened in a religious organization I used to belong to. The names have been changed to protect the guilty.

But the moral of the story is that mankind will always shake off the bonds of dictators. A word of warning to future kings who abuse their thrones.~~~

I hope you enjoyed my SIX WORD FRIDAY post, you can find out more here.