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

Go ahead, Wonder.

LENTEN REFLECTIONS #27

ORIGINALLY POSTED MARCH 2018

I just love this story. It sheds light on the fact that even though we are very different on the outside, the fibers of our souls are woven from the same cloth.

When I first met my sweet husband, I never wondered. I may have ‘mused’, or ‘imagined’, even ‘guessed’. Maybe I ‘bet’ things were going to happen. But my husband? He wondered. About EVERYTHING.

“I wonder if it will rain…I wonder where I put my wallet…I wonder if I threw it out…I wonder why the dogs are barking again(!). Sometimes he’s “wondering if”. “I’m wondering if the kids heard me the first 12 times I called…I’m wondering if any homework is being completed on those devices.” Don’t we all.

It didn’t take me long to begin my own line of wondering. I wonder if the papers left on our kitchen island need to be in someone’s backpack, or if the trumpet I tripped over should be at school buzzing the theme to Star Wars. I cautiously wonder if our daughter should get her driver’s permit, or if the eight hours our kids spend in school have instances of laughter woven in between the stress, and I wonder if traffic surrounding my husband on his commute home will be texting and rushed, or calm and sensible.

To wonder is a basic curiosity, a question, or speculation. I read the novel “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio to our kids a few years ago, and embraced each character as they traversed through their lives with the main character, Auggie Pullman, a boy born with a genetic, facial abnormality. The story holds our hand as we plod through the emotionally draining days with Auggie. Many of his feelings mirroring our own to a degree, as he experiences the exhaustion of bullies, the warmth of friends, and the solace of family.

About five minutes into the movie, “Wonder” I cried and didn’t stop until my eyes puffed out so much I looked like I may have won the fight I was in. The story celebrated differences, visited sacrifice and friendship, touched on caring, feeling different, faith in humanity, disconnecting and reconnecting, finding the amazing in our children, accepting others, changing the way we see each other, and honoring quiet strength. Please see this movie. You will be a better person for doing so.

Maybe I have always wondered. I certainly wondered if I would ever marry a great guy, and I did. Time to look for my keys, I’m wondering if I threw them out.

Dig Deep: Don’t wonder if you’re going to run, exercise, or take time for yourself, do it!

Lenten Challenge:

A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love. ~THE SEVEN GIFTS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

 

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

How to keep the power of storytelling alive…

Throwback Thursday…Originally posted on March 2, 2018

Always, ALWAYS tell your stories.

LENTEN REFLECTION #26

FAITH IN STORIES

Last week, our son was riding bikes, exploring the woods, and climbing trees with a friend. After a while, he came home from the trails and told us a tree fell on him. A little daunting, but luckily he was with a friend who was able to lift it off. Turned out it was an old, small pine tree he was climbing when it just snapped. Thankfully, he was wearing his bike helmet and ended up with only a scratched face, and legs. On Monday at school, he was questioned by friends about the mark on his face, and he shared his story. In the group of students, one boy pressed further, “Do you have a video of it?” “No video” was the reply. “Well then, it didn’t happen.” They debated back and forth, then finally, being a professional selective listener, our son confirmed, “it really did happen” and then moved on, ignoring further hassle.

At bedtime, he told me this story and we sat and picked it apart like old layers of paint peeling off the wall trying to find the original color. My inaugural feeling on the boy’s need for documentation to prove the truth was a feeling of exhaustion. Nowadays, technology negotiates our day much like a seeing eye dog, but with swipes, texts, and posts. We click pictures of our meals, and memories, shorten words and deliver messages as fast as our thumbs can go. Conversations dwindle with our busy lives, along with the age-old craft of storytelling – exactly what our son was doing.

As young children, there’s faith in stories. Maurice Sendak takes us to a wild rumpus and faithfully floats us home with Max as he arrives home to his warm dinner.

Faith in friendship is palpable when Charlotte sits in her web and says:

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”
― E.B. WhiteCharlotte’s Web

Faith requires vulnerability. Stripping the need for that which is tangible. In “Yes, Virginia There is a Santa Claus” Francis Church interprets faith in his editorial in The New York Sun in 1897:

“You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart.”

The historian Stephen Nissenbaum connects ”Yes, Virginia” with not only faith in Santa Claus, but faith in faith. In the late 19th century religious doubt ran rampant among middle-class Americans. According to Mr. Nissenbaum “…God must exist simply because people so badly needed Him to.” When Mr. Church referred to ”the skepticism of a skeptical age, he was speaking to grown-ups.”

Now that doubt cloaks children too.

We make an emotional investment with every story we tell. Some may believe if a tree falls on a boy in a forest it’s true, doubters will question and want video proof. The vital action is to tell the story, be the raconteur and propel your listeners with you on a journey of faith.

Dig Deep: Go on a Rosary Run! Yesterday I did and it took my mind off the pain. 🙂 Run on!

Lenten Challenge: Pray for the doubters and cynics in the world, truly that’s all of us at times. Keep story-telling alive!

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

Destiny? It’s up to us…

Lenten Reflection #25

While waiting at the orthodontist, my son, who lives and breathes mountain biking was reading Enduro Magazine. This is a periodical deemed the most exciting mountain bike magazine of ALL TIME. Now that’s confident. He and I love quotes. We love motivating words that pack a punch and give you an aggressive, reminding push saying no matter how steep the mountain or rough the road, there are no excuses. 

As he read, he took a picture of a blurb in the magazine to store in his phone and passed it to me. “Yes,” I said, “that’s my blog for today”. 

From Enduro Magazine:

The best way to predict the future is to shape it yourself. More concretely: Don’t let these fast-changing times paralyze you, take responsibility and don’t place the burden of change on “the others”. Don’t wait for someone else to live out your dreams for you – take the initiative instead of trolling forums and social media with pessimistic comments. The mere dream of a better world has never created a better future – you’ve got to go out and create it yourself.

After a little research, I discovered credit for the first line of the quote goes to Abraham Lincoln, a man cloaked in wisdom. The message in its entirety reminded me to strive for whatever completes my puzzle. That truly, if my husband and I work tirelessly on our blogs and mission, there will be more. It tells me we can and will make a difference and leave our mark. It just takes work. But what good comes without work? Work is critical. Real work. Long hours of work. Heartfelt work.

So, it’s up to us. We create our destiny. We can start with a small audience like runonmom.com and bit by bit make a difference in the world. All of us can. It’s our destiny. 

Spiritual Workout: There was an elderly man at church who would not let a person go by without telling them to “NEVER GIVE UP”. Last year he passed away, but he left his mark on our family and we quote him regularly. 

Workout: Hold plank for 30 seconds, then follow up with 15 push-ups and repeat 3 times. 

 

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

WHY I RUN – 11 REASONS

LENT REFLECTION #24

The other day, my husband and I went for a run. As we reached our turn around point, a group of college-age runners sped by. Leading the group, was a young girl with legs about the length of my body, and a long ponytail chasing her on her seemingly effortless run.

By her pace, I thought perhaps it was her speed day or maybe a long run. Whatever it was, she knew why she was running. All runners know.

Running reasons always start with the basics: lose weight, lower risk of heart disease, and improve overall health.

But running is so much deeper. Running gives more, even when you don’t ask for it, even when you don’t expect it. Running is generous and painful, fulfilling and grueling. All we have to do is show up.

When I lace up for a run, I always picture myself going so much faster than I actually can. But that’s not why I run.

When I was younger, I had PR’s and long distance goals. I ran so I could justify dessert or shed some water weight. In my first race ever, a college campus 8K (random distance) in Flagstaff, I ran with my friend Dan. We came in dead last. In that instance, I ran for the t-shirt and to say I did it. And I did it.

Now, I run for the peripheral stuff running gives, not to beat a PR or score a dri-fit shirt. Much like our past ancestors, I run for survival. Not the original hunting for prey such as antelope or gazelles type of survival…

…just mom survival. Here’s why I run:

  1. Simplicity: it only takes shoes, desire and about 45 minutes
  2. Perspective: it makes the mystery of what’s for dinner, not a big deal
  3. Refocus: it opens my mind to new ideas (dinner again)
  4. Meditation: this is my meditative time, just me and my labored breathing
  5. Body Awareness: feeling the wind on my face, lungs breathing, and sweat pouring
  6. Afterward: the gift of a pounding heart, thankful legs and arms, and a clear mind
  7. Recalibration: working through injuries, relishing rest
  8. Family fitness: being a positive example for our kids, even though they all run faster than me
  9. Success: knowing my mind and body can fight through every incline and rough patch even when everything hurts
  10. Exposure: all travel should include a run to experience the area
  11. Clean slate: even 30 minutes of running can wipe my worry slate clean

Ultimately, running is the catalyst to joy, freedom, fitness, and longevity. It has helped me become a better version of myself and a calmer mom. All a work in progress. Time for a run.

Spiritual Workout: whether you walk or run today, include a Rosary as you accomplish your workout.

Workout: Run on!

 

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

CALL Mom & Dad – the original GOOGLE

Lenten Reflections #23

I’ve taken apart our washing machine three times. The rattling finally got to me. So one day when everyone was out and it was just ME and THE SOUND, I was determined to find the culprit.

I’m really good at taking things apart. Putting them back together, however, is not my forté. But with Youtube and one phone call, I am usually able to tackle most DIY tasks.

So who is on the receiving end of the phone when the task seems Herculean and the Youtube video experts are using tools I’ve never heard of?

Mom and Dad.

My parents grew up with a no waste, fix things yourself and don’t overspend mindset. They have amazing habits I wish I had absorbed, things like wrapping cords neatly after using a vacuum, mixer or drill. Instead, I tackle the tangles, say choice words, and get frustrated with my laziness.

Ever since college, I’ve called my parents when there was a question about fixing, mending, or anything else pertaining to life. On the life questions, Dad is always ready to give his opinion and Mom, well she has some magical way of keeping the ball in my court so I ultimately make the decision. 

In a sense, they were and still are MY GOOGLE. 

So I call when:

  • I forget how to refill the bobbin for the sewing machine (always)
  • I need help to remove the drain thingy out of the sink to clean the drain,
  • I need to fix the fridge and forgot the hair dryer trick,
  • I can’t recall how long I blend chili pods when making red chili (long),
  • I’m having a day when I feel I should craft my speech for the worst mom in the world award and need a boost…

They are my go-to’s for wisdom-packed answers, realistic advice, and no-nonsense words to keep me grounded.

In the family spirit of DIY, I tackle fixing things and don’t stress about putting them back together because I can still dial my childhood home where until recently you could still hear a busy signal!

Home. Where I learned to set the thermostat low and put on a sweater. Home. Where the phone attached to the wall with the long cord can still be stretched into the pantry for privacy. Home. Where you grow your own tomatoes, make your own tortillas and sit out on the patio and talk. Just talk. Home. Where mom picks up the phone at her leisure and dad dives for it like he’s pressing the buzzer to answer a question first on Family Feud. Because he loves to connect. And listen. And help. They both do.

So when I call my parents, we catch up, work on a few projects over the phone, and chat about sending some of Georgia’s rain to settle New Mexico’s dust. The day I called about the washing machine, we found a flattened souvenir penny from Stone Mountain Park that DID NOT cost one cent. The next two times it was a guitar pick and a very shiny penny.

The clicking finally stopped in the washing machine, but I pray the phone will continue to ring in my parent’s home for many years to come. As Dad says, if he doesn’t know, “Check the Internet”. I guess that’s a good Plan B. 

Spiritual Workout: Go to Adoration and embrace the silence and solitude.

Workout: 30-second high plank, 30-second low plank, 30-second wall sit, 30-second Superman. Repeat 5 times.

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

Watch him take the shot

Lenten Reflections #22

In fifth grade, I was unstoppable on the monkey bars. My favorite trick was the “cherry drop”. It was risky and exhilarating, and I did it close to a zillion times. Here’s how it works. Pull yourself up to the bar. Sit and balance on the top, point your hands straight out in front of you, fall backward, hook knees to bar, flip body over and land in front of the monkey bar. That’s a cherry drop.

Of course, the thought of doing it now scares the heck out of me, but the feeling of doing something like that when your nine…that stuff that sticks with you.

The best part was, I had someone to watch me land the flip. Someone who took time to be there. Someone who listened when I said, “Look!”

Today in backyards, schools, and playgrounds the words “Watch this!” bounce through the air carrying the excitement kids get when they have tried something so many times they HAVE TO have a witness to watch them succeed. At least one set of eyes to see their accomplishment.

I’m not saying respond to their every request to look, but…

what if…they finally drew the perfect rainbow, the colors are in order and they even found the wishy-washy indigo color?  Stop and take a minute to look at it.

what if…they want to tell you a story about the baseball game when they finally hit the ball off the tee and ran like crazy to first base. Stop and listen.

what if…they found a rock on the playground and it’s the perfect shape of a heart and they HAVE to show you. Stop and admire their find.

It’s about not getting steamrolled by the day-to-day craziness of life and simply watching your child play. Even though our kids are a little older, there are still insane bike jumps to watch, swim dives to marvel, and trick shots I’m summoned to watch.

If I’m not paying attention, inevitably I turn my head and see my son’s eyes peering at me through the window waiting. Luckily, if I miss it there is always an instant replay, either spoken or delivered in slow motion. Much like in most sports these days, the replay counts for inattentive parents.

Maybe it’s a three-point shot or a monkey bar miracle but some kid somewhere is pining for their moment to be seen.

So right now. Just stop. Stop swiping and texting, streaming or tweeting, cooking or cleaning. Just stop and watch him take the shot. Watch the look on his face when he does it. Watch him keep trying when he doesn’t. Watch now because too soon he’ll stop asking.

Spiritual workout: Read the Beatitudes aloud. Digest the words and live them.

Workout: Happy Spring! Go for a walk today and if you have a pull-up bar, hang on it and stretch your body. Start with a 10-second hang and then work your way up to one minute.

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

What keeps you buoyant?

Lenten Blog #21

I’ve always had a step stool in my kitchen. It gives me the extra inches I need to reach the platters I love and the waffle iron tucked way back in the top cabinet. If the stool is missing I use the “throw my leg onto the countertop” method push up with my knee and kneel to reach whatever is needed. It’s just a boost, a lift, some leverage to help me reach higher.

Somedays I need a virtual stepping stool. Words. Someone else’s message to grant me the strength to push through the discussions about dicey teenage days, judgy attitudes (sometimes mine) or the pain we all feel and hide deep inside. 

So I find a quote, a podcast, an NPR story…maybe a TED talk, a song, a book or a prayer (lots of prayers) to bring me buoyancy. Keep me afloat when I feel I’m circling the drain. Ground me when I’m griping and not grateful.

So I will share some of the gems I’ve found in some of my posts. Here is one by Brené Brown who is a rock star researcher-storyteller who has spent the past ten years studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame.

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May you all own your stories and enjoy every minute writing and sharing them with those you love.

Spiritual Workout: Find your quiet place and pray for peace. Emotional and Mental.

Workout: For goodness sake, try Pilates! Now that’s peaceful.

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

Little Leaguers lean on each other “Come on kid!”

Lenten Blog #20

Throwback Thursday…Originally posted on March 29, 2018

In honor of Opening Day(s) everywhere…I am reposting a blog I wrote last year during baseball season and Lent.

All the stars were aligned for a baseball game tonight. The weather was ideal, the parking lot was nearly empty and unriddled with invented parking spaces, parents had their multi-cup-holding chairs set up, and the kids were spirited and ready.

While standing behind the backstop, I spoke to an elderly woman who said, “Oh, that must be your son.” Perhaps she heard me shout things like, “wait for your pitch, good cut,” you get the idea. Or maybe it was because I had a camera pointed directly at him. “Yes, it is” I responded. “My grandson is next to bat” she continued. We chatted further about how fortunate she feels to be able to watch the games and see her grandson. I added how I love hanging out near the dugout where I can hear conversations boys have about pitchers, snacks, and “lit” pro players. She said she wondered if the kids enjoyed the games as much as we did.

While we sat, we could hear one player in the dugout bellowing out textbook baseball chatter, “COME ON KID, you’ve got this, you’re going to do great kid, wait for your pitch kid.” The encouragement was nonstop and straight from the heart. The same player hollered inspirational words from center field to my son as he pitched. Slowly all the boys began chanting, and it was as if the players were virtually boosting each other on their shoulders with positive baseball jargon. As the game went on, there were errors, strikeouts, base hits, doubles, and fly balls. But with each play, the sentiment remained positive, and I couldn’t help but think the credit should go to the cheering player whose curly-hair hoisted his cap high on his head, much like his enthusiasm.

At the bottom of the last inning, I walked over to say goodbye to the sweet grandmother I met earlier. As a base hit brought our team ahead by three points, she admitted, “I can’t believe I get butterflies like the boys.” “Me too.” I agreed, telling her my heart rate zooms when the excitement builds for anything my kids do. Before she rolled her wheelchair away, she smiled and said, “You know, we’re both good moms.” “Thank you,” I replied, touched I had my own cheerleader. After all, moms need to raise each other up as well.

Honestly, the best part of baseball is watching the boys put their thoughts aside, play ball, endure each run and out, and lean on each other for support. Personally, I wish the curly-headed player would yell out to me each morning, “Come on kid, we can do this life thing kid, we got this kid!!”

Dig Deep: Especially when you get to the point of mental fatigue, keep your thoughts positive and do a steady state exercise (walk, run, swim, etc.) for at least 20 minutes.

Lenten Challenge: Model optimism with your families. Pray for positive words to lead you in conversation.

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

A running partner to remember

LENTEN BLOG #18

For about ten years, I was faithful to one running partner.

Misty, a Labrador/Chow mix arrived on my Washington, DC doorstep one snowy day in the middle of February. I took her to the veterinarian, placed signs around the neighborhood and called the local Humane Society to find out if anyone had lost a black puppy about 4 months old. After receiving no response, Misty had found her home. As she grew, we covered many miles as best friends and running partners.

Over the years, we ran through Rock Creek Park, circled numerous neighborhoods, and maneuvered the National Mall and DC’s bustling 16th street. We dodged bikes, crossed busy streets and waved at fellow runners.

It was our time. My time to exhale from the day. Misty’s time to listen. Running has a way of adjusting the focus of life’s lens, making the world seem more crisp, more profound, more accessible.

Some days Misty would squeeze sprints in as she dashed after squirrels or chipmunks.  She ran with a purpose and always pushed me (or pulled me) to keep up. Although her sniffing breaks broke our stride, Misty and I were never aiming to set our PR together.

We just ran, because running brings a healthy void. A place where our mental oversized baggage (which never fits in the overhead bin) somehow becomes lighter with each step.

When I was expecting our daughter, I was initially hesitant to run with such precious cargo, but after reading about the benefits of exercise during pregnancy, I knew running would continue to be a priority in my life. So for six months, our baby, Misty and I enjoyed running together. As my energy waned and stomach grew, our runs turned to walks. 

Then I became a mom. A mom to a beautiful, loving baby.  When she smiled her eyes twinkled, nose wrinkled and chin dimpled. “She’s going to be a runner,” I thought. She’d have a good laugh at that today. 

I continued to run. Misty and I ran on Saturdays when she would stop to sniff a mystery spot or sprint towards a squirrel. My daughter and I ran at home, kind of. I ran on the treadmill while she rested in her crib or sat in her bouncy chair.  She watched her musical mobile, which I managed to keep going, by jumping off the treadmill every 4 minutes or so to rewind it.

I said it was a long time ago.

Since then, my husband slows his pace and joins me for a run and at least one of our boys runs the traditional Thanksgiving 5K or 10K with me. Our sweet dogs have found their “inner Misty” as I call it and they pull me along on runs as well. My daughter, now a strong swimmer, makes amazing signs, cheers us on, and laughs way too hard when I ask her to run with me. 

Misty has been gone for years now and I miss her dearly. But I’ve never stopped running and pray I’ll always have the drive, strength, knees and sweet Misty memories to help me RUN ON.

Spiritual Workout: Pray for those who can’t run or walk and count your blessings.

Workout: Find a friend or dog to walk or run with. It’s cathartic. 

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

Go ahead, roll the window down…

LENTEN BLOG #17

It’s amazing what you see when you look up from your blue screen…

Our children’s sporting events have taken us to baseball fields, swimming facilities, cross country courses, soccer fields and mountain bike trails all over the state. As we drive, I frequently remind the kids to take in their surroundings, identify landmarks, and appreciate the landscape. Really, all I do is holler, “Look out the window!”

The other day as I drove my son to his baseball game, we chatted about the rise and fall of our NCAA brackets, whether we had packed enough Goldfish Crackers, and his latest science test.

I pointed out a sprawling patch of daffodils dripping gold over the side of the highway, a splintered billboard with faded lettering, and a well-preserved one-room schoolhouse which stood with solidity and character smack in the middle of a cemetery. “Yep,” he said, as I pointed out each one, “I saw it last time we drove here.” He continued, “Yeah when we passed the school house I wondered why it was in the middle of a cemetery.” We made a chicken and the egg reference and continued to the field.

I was happy he saw the world in real time rather than through a screen.

On our family road trips in the ’70s and ’80s, I sat in the off-kilter center seat of our big white station wagon. The middle spot between Mom and Dad which even with just a lap belt felt safe because of my seatmates. I was in charge of the little tiny Kleenex box on the dashboard and securing the trash bag on the lighter.

As we traveled from New Mexico to Arizona, Las Vegas, Disneyland, the Grand Canyon or wherever we could, we’d sing, and play car games. Trips were always peppered with bickering as expected with four girls, so in pinch, mom or dad would hit the On the fly parenting button and come up with contests. My favorite was, “The first person to see a deer will get an ice cream cone!” 

As we peered out our windows, searching for the deer, we were treated with scenes of bison, prairie dogs, elk, and antelope. Our vision focused more on the topography and less on the confines of the station wagon, even though we had the roomy way, way back. Ultimately, we all got ice cream.

As they say, technology is a blessing and a curse. (“they” might be my mom)

Today it’s tricky to teach children to yank out the headphones and lift their gaze. Perhaps we peered out of our car windows more growing up because we didn’t have anything to look down to.

Bottom line: our lives are going to zoom by whether we’re ready or not, so while you can roll the window down, let the wind hit you in the face and soak up your surroundings.

Spiritual Workout: 5-minute meditation. Clear your mind. Just 5 minutes.

Workout of the Day:

On your next drive, find a new trail to hike, walk or run.