Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets

Get Moving Seniors! Part 1

Up and down streets in our suburban world “Over 55” neighborhoods are sprouting as prevalently as the showy Crepe Myrtles lining the streets. “Senior Living!” signs are displayed touting the joy you can have in a neighborhood where the couple next door to you are no strangers to clothes lines, Jello molds and Buddy Holly…back in the day. But are you really a Senior if you’re only 55? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Age 65 is still the standard senior-citizen threshold for Medicare, but the tipping-point age elsewhere can vary from 38 to 80. Nonetheless, no matter the age or where you live, all Senior Citizens need to take the time to take care of themselves and get moving!

Here are four ways to get started:

  1. For endurance, take a brisk walk or jog around the block or at a local track.
  2. For strength, lift weights or use resistance band exercises to build muscle.
  3. For balance, sign up for a local yoga or pilates class. Good balance prevents falls.
  4. For flexibility, stretch your muscles throughout the day

Tomorrow, my dear parents will be married for 58 years and are perfect examples of Senior Citizens who take care of themselves, and each other. Of course they appreciate the senior discounts on Wednesdays at the grocery stores and Goodwill and indulge in a good early bird special – as long as there’s gluten-free menu for mom.  They are also excellent at keeping themselves busy. Dad’s worked numerous jobs, retired about three times, and is still working at 82. Mom worked in my high school for years, is a master seamstress, and can make anything grow in her garden even with the mere 12 drops of rain New Mexico receives per month. Mom and Dad putz around the yard, make crazy U-turns for garage sales and wash, mend, rebuild, and upholster their treasures for resale.

In my next post, I’ll fill you in on one of my parent’s secret to keep their bodies moving. It involves a big tree, a shovel, and a lot of dirt.

Stay tuned.

Dig Deep: If you have a way to calculate your steps, up your goal by 1,000 steps today. Take the stairs when they are available and go an extra flight up to help reach your daily goal.

Back Pocket Prayer, in honor of Earth Day:

O God, enlarge within us the sense of fellowship with all living things, our brothers the animals [and all creatures] to whom you gave the earth as their home in common with us. We remember with shame that in the past we have exercised the high dominion of humans with ruthless cruelty so that the voice of the earth, which should have gone up to you in song, has been a groan of travail. May we realize that all creatures live not for us alone but for themselves and for you, and that they love the sweetness of life. Amen. © 2018 Catholic Health Association of the United States

– Words from BASIL THE GREAT

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Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

What could possibly happen if you leave your child for just 20 minutes?

No matter how hard we try not to, we constantly over-schedule ourselves. My parents are 79 and 82 and even they find themselves running from Pilates to breakfast with friends, and then to their staple triangle of doctors, church, and grocery shopping. Glance at any parent today and whether they have one or twelve children, they are on the go. They scald to their destinations like a baseball player slides into home as the verdict “Safe!” looms in the dust. Looks of relief laced with exhaustion appear on their faces as they plop in their waiting chairs, poised for the next leg of their parental race. Personally, I zoom around just like the next guy, kids in tow, dropping off, picking up, and carpooling precious cargo from school to swim, baseball, church, then mountain biking.

SCHEDULING OVERLAP

Yesterday, we had a hat trick day. Three simultaneous events, and the natural occurrence of a scheduling overlap. So, we had our timing precisely coordinated. The plan: as my husband mountain biked with our son, I would take our daughter to swim, then our youngest to his baseball game. During batting practice, I would run for 30 minutes around the field, hovering like an Army Black Hawk helicopter, then go pick up our daughter from swim. Therefore, leaving one twenty minute window where I would not be at the baseball field, but would alert the coaches I would be right back. 

You may have peeked through this 20-minute window before.

Here’s what it is:

  1. It’s the 20 minutes of time when you are fairly confident your child will be okay if you leave them in a public place with people they know and parents you trust.
  2. It’s the same 20 minutes of time you will panic every second you leave your child alone at a location while you are in transit to collect other family members.
  3. It’s the exact 20 minutes you will pray your child doesn’t get pummeled with a ball, bat, lacrosse stick, swim fin, or any other object causing the impending concussion adolescents suffer in today’s sports world.
  4. Finally, it’s the 20 minutes you drive soooo carefully as to not get pulled over or cause a fender bender, completely ruining the carefully manicured plan you are in the middle of implementing.

Fortunately, I made it back in 19 minutes and as soon as I saw my son in the dugout he exclaimed,

“You missed it! I just hit an inside-the-park home run!”

Of course I did. What could possibly happen in 20 minutes?

As a parent, I have trained myself to think the worst, you know the thinking…your child says the wine at church “is really tasty” and you begin budgeting time for AA meetings. OR your child loves high-speed, precarious bike riding, which in your mind is the inevitable precursor to a teenage driver who cruises way too fast on I-75, so you begin bargaining with God now. And clearly addiction to sugar equals future drug problems. You get the gist?

Even though I consider myself a half-full kinda gal, I never thought something amazing would happen during the 20 minute window. But it did, and I couldn’t be more grateful it was positive (thanks God for covering the our overlap). On the heels of our son’s announcement of his hit, our daughter, who would rather have a root canal than watch a two-hour baseball game declared, “See! It’s good luck when we’re not here! We should definitely go home. It’s in everyone’s best interest.” “We’re staying, I’ll bet you he can do it again!” I announced.

As our daughter rolled her eyes all the way to the bleachers and set up her studying work space, our family mountain bikers hustled in from the parking lot questioning what they missed. “Just 20 minutes” I said. Right then, our home run hitter called them over to the dugout for a play by play. I beamed as I heard him exclaim “Then I slid into home!”

Yup, you just never know what can happen in twenty minutes. If you have the overlap:

  1. Let trusted adults know the plan
  2. Drive safely
  3. Pray for all things positive

Who would have thought, the first at bat my husband and I miss, and it’s a home run!

DIG DEEP: Even if you only have 30 minutes while you wait for batting practice or your child’s orthodontist appointment, walk or run around the parking lot or field. Movement makes moms more cheerful.

BACK POCKET PRAYER (keep this prayer in your “back pocket” as you go through your week):

Clear clutter in your home and give away anything you are not using. In the words of Mother Theresa:20b9da8954f77c63c0c230c33b4e0b7d.jpg

 

 

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Find beauty in To Do lists

I like lists. Mostly to do lists. I don’t always love the to-do’s on the list, but there is a definite satisfaction that comes with checking items off as they are completed. Sometimes, I’ll even tack on already completed items to the list, just to cross something out. When I started using lists in college, they looked like this:

  • Study for finals
  • Dorm meeting
  • Work shift at restaurant
  • Run
  • Buy flowers
  • Lay out in the sun
  • 10 cent wings at Granny’s Restaurant for dinner

The joy of college! As expected, over the years, my lists have changed. A smidgen.

I’ve also imposed this chronicling of responsibilities on my children. When they were young, I presented “visual lists” of made beds, clothes in hampers, potty time, and brushed teeth, which graduated to wordy reminders to complete homework, prep backpacks, and clean rooms. Even though they are only half-listening, I tell the kids to “Let the list lead you”. It saves me from the continuous broken record nagging that causes eye rolling, heavy sighing, and the vicious circle of “why’s?!” that ricochet off of every calmly presented request which quickly morphs into a cacophonous command.

Some of our children (the boys) do not embrace the power of lists as much as I do, and employ their own strategies:

1) School Agenda – assignments and tests are written daily, logical substitute

2) Backs of hands – imminent items are scrawled on hands – a unique, yet messy, and hard to miss option.

Conversely, our daughter, armed with a pack of thin markers of every hue, creates colorful, fancy-font to-do lists she designs when she takes a break from preparing her crafty “vocab” cards for school.

STRONGLY RECOMMENDED IDEA: To accompany the lists, I also make a calendar each month and display it in the kitchen where everyone can see the upcoming games, appointments, practices, and other events. Although drawing the design is another item to put on my own TO DO List, I truly enjoy setting it up. It’s my one artful contribution to our home, plus it serves a purpose and answers all of the “When’s my….” or “What time is the…” questions.

Functional and fun.

Although I filmed this in the incorrect format, here’s my process. Take a peek.

Today’s takeaway:

Even if other “have-to’s” are pending, take the time find something you enjoy and do it. Whether it’s drawing a flower on a calendar or prepping your garden space for planting tomatoes. Heck, just slap your new me-item on your To Do list and make it an official have-to. Life flies by, and it’s in our best interest to enjoy every minute.

Dig Deep: Take time to stretch. Find a fitness class that focuses on a variety of movements, yoga or pilates (my mom’s favorite) are perfect options.

Faith and Fortitude: Here’s the quote on my calendar this month – it actually connected with the sermon from mass today. But maybe sermons are like horoscopes and you can always find a connection.

“Your faith can move mountains and your doubt can create them.”

Thanks so much for reading and stay tuned for next Sunday’s post.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness, Parenting/Running/Pets, siblings

Take care of each other

HAPPY EASTER! We made it. 40 days of sacrifice, humility, fasting, almsgiving, and because it’s 2018, blogging. Many thanks for reading. Stay tuned for my weekly posts starting next Sunday. IT’S JUST THE BEGINNING. Please subscribe.

40 Reflections #40: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season

TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER

Our children are very close in age. When they were little, if one cried, I’d ask the other two to check on them, assuming they were not the cause of the bawling. “Always check on your brother or sister” I would tell them, “we have to take care of each other.” The same would happen on playgrounds, the backyard, or friend’s homes. When crying started, it was my cue to say, “Go check on them” and off they’d go. Please know, blood and bumps were always tended to, and I did not just sit on the sidelines watching my kids raise one another, my goal was to make sure they had each other’s backs. Forever.

As the kids grow up, they play, squabble, tolerate individual traits, and mostly really like and even love each other. In the last few years, there were a few experiences demonstrating the kids quick response to their siblings, and even my needs.

BMX Mom: A few years back, during one of our school breaks, we continued our “Staycation” tradition. A fancy word for stay home, find our own fun, and save money. Towards that end, I had each of our children pick something to do each day. We would all participate with little complaining, and it WOULD be fun. So on BMX day, we packed our two bikes, my daughter threw in her book, and we headed to the park. We had the whole place to ourselves. I assumed the staycationer’s hadn’t discovered this little gem. So as my boys flew up and down the hills, I sat with my daughter and we read. Finally, seeing how much fun the boys were having, I had one of those “it looks so easy, I can TOTALLY do it” moments God should really delete from our brains before they happen, and asked my eldest son if I could use his bike and go around the loop. “Sure, just use my helmet too” was his response. So I passed my phone to my daughter, and asked her to snap a few pictures of my attempt at being a cool mom. I strapped in, started down the first hill and as I climbed up the next bump, sure I had enough speed to reach the top, I completely fell backwards. The bike landed on top of me with a bit of metal digging into the back of my knee. Immediately my son dashed over, lifted the bike off of me, ran to the car for the First Aid Kit, and began picking out bandages. Meanwhile, my youngest kept zooming around the track as if in a race, and my daughter filmed my entire fall and rescue.

“Take care of each other” BOTTOM LINE: one of us was in need and help was there without panic, just response. Plus, if we need evidence of the fall, it’s all on video :). Four stitches later at the Urgent Care, I was all patched up and ready for the next, less adventurous trip to Barnes and Noble.

FIGHT CLUB: For years, we were the parents who never let our kids go down the block to the park alone, then one day, my husband and I told the kids “come home in 15 minutes.” They looked at us like we were bluffing and as we kept walking, one of their friends asked, “Where are they going? They’re really leaving?” After that day, as long as the boys had their watches on and knew when to come home, they could play for a stint at the park without us. One day the boys came home upset, apparently one of them got into a fight and they were agitated. After talking through it, they calmed down, and moved on. Meanwhile, our daughter was livid about the fighting and vowed to ensure it would not happen again. She decided to start a (pretend – I think) “Fight Club” where members were on-call to help out with these situations and ensure peace was coveted, and no one bothered her brothers.

“Take care of each other” BOTTOM LINE: Our gal is always ready to defend her brothers and make sure they are safe, even if she is starting her own Navy Seal type Club for teenage girls, who are strong swimmers and play the cello. 

WHEN IN DOUBT DO THE HEIMLICH: Just yesterday, the boys went down to the park, one with a basketball, the other with a bike, ramp, and probably a sling shot. About 5 minutes into their play, we received a phone call. Our youngest called to let us know “something” happened to his brother. We both sprinted out the door to the park (side note to runners: I don’t know why, but for some reason, I thought FOR SURE I would be faster than my husband in an emergency situation, apparently I was wrong. Again, it’s not about me.) Upon arrival, he was seated on a bench, seemingly okay. Apparently he  was jumping off the ramp, when he fell backwards and landed on his back. His brother didn’t see it, just heard the moan and responded.While he iced his back, my husband and our youngest played basketball in the back. During their game, he said, “You know I gave him the Heimlich.” My husband, thinking he missed the key word in the sentence said, “You what?” “I gave him the Heimlich. He was having trouble breathing and he wouldn’t speak, so I went behind him and gave him the Heimlich. Twice.” My husband praised him for reacting and responding to the needs of his brother, and reviewed the Heimlich with him. After icing the back, all was well and he survived the 2-hour Holy Saturday Mass.

“Take care of each other” BOTTOM LINE: In a scary situation our son knew reacting and responding was the right thing to do. He was there for his brother. 

I’ll leave you with the same petition I impart to our children as they board the bus I wave to wildly every morning, say your prayers, take care of each other, and be kind. Yes, to everyone.

Dig Deep: Sign up for a CPR and First Aid class, take your kids as well. It’s a great staycation idea!

Lenten Challenge: You did it. Make 40 days 80, then more. Say your Rosaries.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ MY RAW, RECOLLECTIONS, MISSPELLINGS AND ALL.

We made it. 40 days of sacrifice, humility, fasting, almsgiving, and because it’s 2018, blogging. Many thanks for reading. Stay tuned for my weekly posts starting next Sunday. Please subscribe.

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Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

It’s not about me

40 Reflections #39: 40 days of raw recollections during the Lenten Season

I should have read this Holy Saturday information first thing this morning to set the tone for the day, but I didn’t.

Holy Saturday
Holy Saturday (from Sabbatum Sanctum, its official liturgical name) is sacred as the day of the Lord’s rest; it has been called the “Second Sabbath” after creation. The day is and should be the most calm and quiet day of the entire Church year, a day broken by no liturgical function.

If only I planned my days more efficiently, my calendar would look like this:

  1. Holy Saturday – be calm
  2. Standardized Testing for kids – encourage them to be happy and not stressed
  3. Doctor’s Appointment – be brave

So even though my family’s Saturday did not launch with a Biblical message or a devotion, it started out like most mornings, noisy, emotional, and busy. Breakfast was eaten, a preview/timeline of the day was given, and reminders of chores were issued.

Twenty minutes later, as with most growing kids, hunger returned…eating continued, and louder, less-loving reminders of the previously “forgotten” chores were delivered.

We continued the day with egg dying, planning for friend’s visits, and prepping for Easter Sunday. Cello music hummed through our home, basketballs bounced, and bikes soared over ramps. As a lector for the Holy Saturday Mass, I reviewed my reading, and reminded everyone to prep their clothes and be ready by 5:00 pm, of course at this point it was only 9:00 am, but God likes punctual.

Holy Saturday Mass

I love being a lector. I love being part of something bigger than me and helping out with such a beautiful, and powerful event. When trained as a lector, the most important lesson I learned was:

It is not about me. 

This resonated in my soul, mainly because I love reading aloud. To anyone. Especially our children (I don’t care if they are old, I’m reading!). I’ll read whatever the kids want to listen to, butchering the voices in Harry Potter and insisting Pooh’s buddy Christopher Robin has an Australian accent, which shockingly sounds a lot like Harry Potter’s voice.

When reading for mass, I understood I should NOT make the words in the Bible about me. For instance, don’t be overly dramatic when reading or suddenly decide Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John grew up with an Irishman who influenced their speech greatly, and proceed to read with a lilt.

Upon arrival at church, I checked in as “Reader #5” and was informed there were only four readings and therefore no need for the fifth reader, me. Initially, I was a bit crestfallen, but understood it was a simple clerical error.

Although I was ready to read Isaiah, I remembered: it (whatever “it” means to us) is definitely not about me. It is about being calm, knowing your God-inspired purpose, and understanding your role in the world. “It” is about God.

Author John Piper writes,

“Perhaps our place is not at the center of the universe. God does not exist to make much of us. We exist to make much of him.”

And as we make much of Him, we will find the calm amid the noisy mornings, and sit on the bench as Reader #5, listening and following the word of God.

Dig Deep: Go for a nice, long, slow run today.

Lenten Challenge: Say your rosary and look up your saint day!