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

Be not afraid

Lenten Reflection #40

So I did it. 40 days of writing. 40 days of sharing. 40 days of memories.

And 40 days filled with unfathomable change.

Lent started out like every year. I contemplate giving up all the sugar and carbs in the world. Plan to blog every day…and vow to be kind, on-time, patient and generous.

Never did I think I would be at home watching Holy Saturday Mass streamed online. On Thursday I mentioned to my family that MAYBE we should watch Mass at the Vatican…because we COULD. I was immediately barraged with a slew of questions:

“Do you think they’ll do ALL the readings…Wait, that sounds like it’s going to be LONG…Don’t they say everything in Latin?”

Nevermind. I acquiesced and we stayed local.

We finished coloring our Easter eggs, ate dinner outside, and after every dish was washed, plopped down on the couch for Mass. I noticed each one of our kids disappear for a few minutes, returning to our living room dressed as if we were headed to church.

It seems that after weeks of living in sweats and workout clothes, our kids knew what was appropriate to wear to Easter Mass, albeit at home, and settled in for the next hour or so.

As we held hands while praying the Our Father, I looked at our little circle of faith and beamed. Our dogs roamed in and out of our legs as we gave each other a sign of peace, loving the fact that we’ve been home so much. I held each hug a little longer than usual knowing we all need extra comfort right now, including me.

Sadly, hugs, handshakes, and human contact are obsolete if we decide to cautiously step outside our front doors. This absence of togetherness is hard on all of us. Even as we listened to Father Walsh’s sermon tonight, the church echoed with a melancholy emptiness.

But his words rang true: “Be not afraid”.

At times like these, it’s hard to digest this advice, but we MUST be courageous, trust in God, do what is right, and take care of ourselves and each other.

Happy Easter and thank you for walking through the last 40 days with me.

“…do not be afraid, for I am with you; do not be alarmed, for I am your God. I give you strength, truly I help you, truly I hold you firm with my saving right hand.” -Isaiah, Chapter 41

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

Now that we have time, what if…

Lenten Reflection #37

Throwback Wednesday! Why not?

Given the time we’ve had in our homes lately with those we love…our kids, parents, grandparents, I thought about the “what-if” questions I always ask myself.

Now that time is abundant, I’m going to tackle some of these “what-ifs”. Here’s my Throwback Blog, I hope you enjoy.

Stay safe friends.

Ever feel like you’re constantly making mistakes as a mom, and wonder “WHAT IF I would have just done things differently?”

I do.

And every day I pray I’ll be the mom who guides with love and trust. Where God’s knock on the door is always answered, and grace soars in and ushers our kids through the messy moments of their teenage years.

Every day these “What if” questions herd my mind into a corral like an overzealous border collie with a flock of sheep. Sure, I know the right answers, yet the day flies by and I’ve botched it all again. Or have I? Maybe I did something right. As moms we have to forgive ourselves, trip, fall, grab onto something, stand up on our arthritic ankles and keep going one day at a time.

Here are my “WHAT IF’S”…

What if I went all day without saying one negative thing to anyone?

What if I didn’t complain to my kids about being on their phones?

What if I trusted more and criticized less. A lot less?

What if I admitted devices help with socialization?

What if I invested in what piques my kids’ interest or makes them laugh so crazy hard on their phones?

What if I walked by a messy-made bed and thought of it as ALMOST MADE?

What if I were able to feel their anxiety on the first day of school?

What if I didn’t complain once about my own appearance all day?

What if I focused on one task at a time?

What if I hugged my kids more?

What if I always made time for my husband?

What if I called my parents every day?

What if I walked my dogs more often?

What if I read a book, cover to cover…just because?

What if I sifted through my 42,644 digital photos and only kept my favorite 200?

What if I donated everything we haven’t used in one year?

What if I knew a magic word to rid my kids of their teenage worries?

What if I planned ahead for dinner?

What if I helped my kids learn to study and GET IT rather than memorize?

What if I reminded them more often how special they really are?

What if I told them I know being a teenager can be awful these days, but it will get better?

What if I was as proud of myself as I am of them?

What if we could have had one more baby?

What if I felt their fear every time they tried something new?

What if I listened? Really listened?

What if I counted my blessings instead of yelling at them?

Do you have any WHAT IFS? Please share yours and together we’ll conquer this mom thing.

 

“If you give freely, there will always be more.”

-Anne Lamott

 

 

 

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

The question I don’t get to ask my kids anymore…

Lenten Reflection #32 – My Kids’ Bedtime Stories

“How was school?” This is one line we toss to our kids nearly 180 times per year, and it boomerangs back empty or with the classic, “good”.

I’ve learned to manage this empty answer for one reason…

Because after years of the same bedtime routine with our kids, (yelling, brushing teeth, prayers, etc.) somehow when they’ve returned from practicing the sport they love, finished their homework and eaten dinner, they finally settle and are ready to share a story or two.

Here are a few examples:

My youngest son talks about the football game he played in PE when he “dove to catch the ball with one hand, jammed his thumb, and was still able to somehow, “dive into the endzone”. `

My daughter and I banter a bit, and she tells me a funny story about a classmate whose name everyone yells out daily as soon as he steps into the classroom or answers a question. She hollers the name then does a spot-on impersonation of her teacher’s reaction. I compare it to Norm’s fame on the TV series Cheers and we both crack up.

My middle guy describes the angst he feels after he asks his Honors Chemistry teacher a question, returns to his desk and forgets what to do. Thankfully, his hunger to know how to do things supersedes any apprehension to ask again. He follows up with, “Oh, and I ran a 6-minute mile in JROTC today.”

Suddenly the “good” response transforms into stories of their day at school.

I call them our kids’ bedtime stories.

One last thing I crave asking the kids again — and Kathy Radigan from the blog My Dishwasher is Possessed puts it best in her blog post: My Special Mom Talent is Annoying Teenagers:

I miss asking them if they did their homework then asking them again if they did their homework, then asking them one more time if they did their homework.

I know I sometimes only half-listen to all of their answers, and I know the kids miss their routine, sports, and friends, but this won’t last forever. (I know that because Sanjay Gupta on CNN just said so, and he knows).

Take care of yourselves and each other.

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

The one thing all of us need right now…

There are typically two things lately all of us can count on – – laundry and being home…but one thing has changed for all of us.

Just a few weeks ago we could chat with friends when we picked our kids up from school, share stories in the teacher’s lounge, or comment on the bargain price of blueberries at Sprouts in the checkout line.

At sporting events for our kids, we’d tell each other about our teenager’s latest drama or success…and at church, we could discuss the “longer than usual” homily.

Right now, all of that interaction has come to a screeching halt. And whether we think we crave it or not, the truth is we all need…

SOMEONE TO LISTEN.

So pick up the phone. Don’t text. Dial a number, call someone and ask how they are and REALLY, REALLY listen to the answer.

Word for 2013 - LISTEN UP! | Mother teresa quotes, Mother teresa ...

As we wade through the same gigantic dismal swamp every day, trying to squelch the worry and focus on the positive. The therapy we need right now (and down the road) is simply someone to listen, be there for someone.

Spiritual Workout:

Here’s what I’ve been trying at home…well, me and the dogs. 

More listening, less talking.

More wags, less barking.

More giving, less taking.

More compassion, less selfishness.

More sharing, less hoarding.

More patience, less haste.

As Mother Theresa said:

Workout: Remember to pace yourself as a parent and a runner. Life is like a marathon: relish the downhills, reset on the flat road and power fiercely up those inclines. The race is shorter than you think.

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

Are you sitting 90% more than usual? This will help…

As humans we are social animals therefore, we naturally miss our human connections, which can make us a little cranky…and once we’re cranky, we forget to move…and then we get crankier! So, like in the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…things go south quickly, and we can lose our focus. Together let’s stretch our bodies and stay positive.

WHY STRETCH? 

According to Harvard Health Medical School (they know):

“Stretching keeps the muscles flexible, strong, and healthy, and we need that flexibility to maintain a range of motion in the joints. Without it, the muscles shorten and become tight. Then, when you call on the muscles for activity, they are weak and unable to extend all the way. That puts you at risk for joint pain, strains, and muscle damage.”

Here are some stretches to give your body and mind strength and clarity.  

Stay in each position shown for 30 seconds (static). Focus on deep breathing and you’ll get some mental stress relief as well. I used The Daily Burn as a resource.

Hip Flexor Stretch: 
Here’s how:Think that hip pain is bursitis? Think again. - Harvard Health Standing up, mimic sitting with one leg crossed over the other, or use a chair as shown for support, so you have two right angles with your legs, one resting on the other.  Sit, hold it, and then switch.

 

Stretching Body Nuchal Rigidity Exercise Massage PNG, Clipart ...

Side Oblique Stretch: 
Lengthen the side of your body as you stretch.
Here’s how: Stand with feet a little wider than hip-distance apart. As you lift one arm overhead with your palm facing inward, reach and lean toward the opposite side of the arm raised. Hold for 15 seconds, then switch sides.

Downward Dog: 
This stretch isDownward Dog Clipart focused on hip and shoulder mobility while stretching your hamstrings, lats (mid-back muscles) and deltoids (shoulder muscles).
Here’s how: Begin in a plank position with shoulders directly over wrists. Push your hips up toward the ceiling so you form a triangle with your body. Keep your head between your arms and straighten your legs as much as possible. Reach your heels toward the ground and spread your fingers, so your bodyweight gets distributed evenly through the hands and feet.

Cat: 
Back pain? This pose will encourage blood flow and increase mobility in your spine.

Here’s how: Get on your hands and knees on a carpet or mat, with wrists in line with shoulders and knees in line with hips. Round your back, tuck your pelvis and look toward the floor, as you scoop your abs upward.

Cow: 
What is the opposite of caHow to Do Cat-Cow Pose in Yoga – YogaOutlet.comt pose? Cow pose, of course. This will stretch your abs and chest muscles.
Here’s how: Get on your hands and knees on an exercise mat, wrists under shoulders and knees in line with hips. Arch your back, look slightly upward and stick your chest out.

Child’s Pose: 
This stretch is an incredibly calming posture and works well for recovery, too. You’ll streBalasana, child, meditation, pose, yoga icontch the low back, lats, and shoulders.
Here’show: Get on all fours on an exercise mat. From your hands and knees, push your hips back until your bottom rests on your heels. (Knees are slightly wider than hips.) Keep your arms straight out in front of you and look at the floor, stretch!

 

Lying Hug Stretch:
Miss all those hugs you got prior to social distancing?

Does my Back Need Cracking? [Don't Screw it Up!]Here’s the remedy and the perfect way to relieve tension in your low back. Here’s how: Lie on your back on an exercise mat or carpet. Tuck your knees toward your chest and grab your calves, as you roll your head up to meet your knees.

Along with stretching remember to keep your immune system strong and eat plenty of immune-boosting foods!

Here are my top 10 favorites: 

Ginger

Citrus

Bell peppers

Garlic

Spinach

Yogurt

Almonds

Turmeric

Sunflower seeds

Green Tea

Take care of yourself and others 🙂

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

What challenged you today?

There’s nothing like seeing kids challenge themselves. Today the stakes were raised when our boys used the Badminton net as a hurdle. After a lot of persistence, laughs and falls, they raised the net and crushed it!Screen Shot 2020-03-28 at 9.03.31 PM.pngScreen Shot 2020-03-28 at 9.05.34 PM.png

What challenged you today? Other than the obvious.

Runonmom.com workout of the day:

  1. Go for a walk…30 minutes.
  2. Take 5 deep breathes…inhale for 5 seconds through your nose and 5 seconds out of your mouth, 5 times.
  3. Call a friend.

Spiritual Workout: Celebrate Mass online.

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

Boredom or Solace?

#24 Lenten Reflections

THROWBACK THURSDAY!

In a lot of the stories I’ve shared in this space, there is typically one common denominator. TIME. More of it. More for family, health, vacations, gardening, reading, playing games, walking dogs, organizing, donating…well…now it’s here.

In fact, tonight at dinner I heard everyone say grace in unison. Five voices. Together. I’m not sure if God caught the words as there is a constant sprint to the word Amen, but nonetheless, we were all in the same place at the same time. And we have been for the last 12 days. Happy, stressed, bored, rested, lonely, alone, crowded, worried…a multitude of feelings.

This newfound time harkened back to a post I wrote regarding the chasm that lives between two heightened feelings boredom and solace…

#24: 40 days of raw reflections during the Lenten Season

I often look around our home and see the jobs others don’t. The cobwebs housing a spider “that really is going to catch the mosquitos and flies that sneak in!” Or the towels that just never make it on the hooks, the windows that are riddled with dog nose kisses, and the baseboards I spitefully glare at while I secretly decide moving to a new home would be easier than cleaning them. It’s times like these when I know seemingly mundane jobs need to be done, and I just have to delve into the task. But why go it alone, when many hands make light work? It’s all about recruitment.

There is one specific word beckoning me to pass my children a mop and the bright blue toilet cleaner…or vinegar for those who steer away from toxicity.

Bored.

Said alone, it’s just one syllable that doesn’t amount to much, but when you accompany it with:

“I-I-I-I-I-I’M” (said in a whiny tone held approximately 3 seconds or more) and then BOOOORRRRED! It takes on a completely new meaning.

Where exactly does “bored” sit on life’s balance beam? Is it fighting for space next to lackadaisical and uncreative, or is it teetering on the edge with solace and quiet? It’s really our call.

Nowadays at the onset of boredom, we plop ourselves in front of a screen and detach ourselves from the emotion altogether. This escape from the now builds an emotional chain link fence in front of solace and deprives us of confronting the quiet. The act of being alone and the feelings that accompany it can be uncomfortable at first for some, or always for others.

We clamor to fill the boredom void, much like the panic and announcement of “awkward silence” when quiet wiggles its way into a conversation. Why not embrace the quiet, focus on our breathing, meditate, or pray? Life so rarely gives us the gift of calm. So when it does, much like not waking the baby or poking the bear, don’t disturb the solace. Embrace it.

Dig Deep: Meditate in a quiet space.

Lenten Challenge: Pray for the sick.

 

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

Being home: from homework to hunger

Lenten Reflections #23

They are home.

Elementary school kids are home with their parents learning to tie their shoes, tell time, count money. Tweens are spared from what can be tumultuous middle school moments, and high school students are navigating Chemistry labs, Rhetorical Analysis, and document-based questions (DBQ’s). All at home.

DIFFERENCES

I called to check in on my students and their families today.

The gamut ran from,

“We’re doing well. He just finished working on sequencing and now I’m teaching him how to tell time from an analog clock.”

TO

“I haven’t heard from my social worker, I don’t know how I’m going to feed my two children, my parents are quarantined and I have to have surgery on Thursday.”

My gosh. Just when I started to grumble about making dinner, I thought of the families who have nothing…NOTHING to bring to the table.

Note: I was able to contact our administrators and they connected the family with MUST Ministry who would help provide meals for the family.

This was true testimony that while some grapple with studying, some are trying to survive. As parents we simply want our kids to be happy, learn and sidestep struggle. We want to do our best…and make them their best selves.

LET THEM LEARN HOW TO LEARN…

Just today, I felt like a rock star when I was able to help my youngest son with his 8th-grade Algebra, yet completely useless when my daughter was working on her Physics lab. One child asks for help, another tackles the work until every eraser in our home is worn.

My son who is a Sophomore incorporates breaks into his studies. Every 30 minutes or so he rides his bike, walks the dogs or works on projects in the garage. His brother shoots baskets outside or plays fetch with the dogs. A stark difference from a 6-minute transition between one-hour and 45-minute classes.

My daughter stays the course, she should wear a t-shirt with Einstein’s words: “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

They each know how they learn best. They have to know.

As they made their lunches today I asked them to pray for those who are hungry or sick or lonely…and Seniors everywhere who are longing for the proper graduation they deserve, but may have to sacrifice for the betterment of all.

The majority of kids truly miss school. They long for their friends, the guarantee of meals, the routine. 

After prayers tonight I reminded them to count their blessings.

As we all should.

Be smart. Be kind.

 

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

A worldwide crisis: how are you handling it? Your kids are watching.

Lenten Reflections #22

Now more than ever. We’re home. Everything we say, do and react to is being watched. By our kids.

We’re not only working from home, but now we are also homeschooling, prepping meals, and parsing out necessities, as to not run out of what we need.

We’re calling family, checking in on friends, discovering Zoom.

We’re trying REALLY hard not to go to the grocery store, yet dash in, hold our breath (maybe just me) and grab a gallon of milk.

We’re anxious, scared, and unsure.

As we set up our offices on kitchen counters and stumble over saxophones in our closet which is now a makeshift practice studio, we can still be positive, we can still be hopeful.

More importantly, we can be honest and patient and vigilant. Because our kids are watching, and learning from us.

Homeschooling is not just about knowing the correct password to log into a website loaded with lessons and videos. Oh no. It’s game on. They are learning from us. Our kids are watching and they are looking for hope and joy and normalcy. 

The blessing is we are doing this together. Building memories and waiting calmly until it is TRULY safe to move forward.

Until then, stay home, stay safe, and stay strong.

 

 

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

Time for church! In the living room…

Lenten Reflection #21

This morning at 10:00 we all gathered in the living room for “mass”.

Our dear Irish priest live-streamed (or whatever the past tense of live-stream is) mass for the parishioners at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.

Since we’ve been dipping our toes into the homeschool pool, I thought we were definitely ready for mass at home. The increased cushion in the seats and pillows as kneelers was a welcome change, but what stayed the same was the kid chatter and nagging.

There was constant shushing coming from our daughter, and at one point our youngest was doing push-ups as we were praying for the sick. In retrospect, the one thing we should have banned was holding hands during the Our Father. Not only for social distancing purposes but why…WHY! do our kids have to try and crush each other’s hands while ironically praying God will deliver them from evil?! Every Sunday. 

I remember when the kids were little and we practiced going to church during the week aiming to be the model family on Sundays. It didn’t work. But they were comfortable in church, perhaps a little too relaxed?

When we first moved to Georgia I thought I’d walk the kids to Lowe’s…it was less than a mile away and we loved walking. So as we were checking out, an older couple initiated a conversation with the classic “you’ve got your hand’s full” line as they stared at me pushing a double stroller with our youngest strapped on my back like I was backpacking through Europe.

We chatted for a moment, and as we turned to leave, they candidly asked: “Does your family have a church-home?”

Wait. A what?

Oh! I broke it down in my head contextually and said, “Yes, we’re Catholic.” That’s all I had. Yup, Catholic. They invited us to their church and I said thanks and began the longer than anticipated journey home.

My take away from our at-home-mass was the fact that our kids are just as comfortable at church as they are at home. I’m going to call that a win. Sure they poke at each other, always have the church giggles, and get antsy once their 45-minute internal alarm goes off, but they are there. We are there. Together.

Yes. We found our “church-home”…at home and church.