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

On Vulnerability…part 1

LENTEN REFLECTIONS #32

THROWBACK THURSDAY – This is a two-part post on vulnerability. I hate vulnerability because it exposes us, shows our imperfections, and breaks down the walls that keep us in our comfortable place and I love vulnerability because it reminds me to breathe through the tangled times, to say I love you first and to have the courage to tell our story.  

Part 1 (Originally posted March 2018):

Click for Part 2

“Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked.”  – Anne Lamott

I’ve always had a passion for writing. At nine, I filled the lines of my diary with trips to Disney and life-changing walks home from school. In middle and high school, I packed numerous pages with poems. During and after college, I chronicled my travels to placid beaches in Mexico and being witness to newborns in India gently held over the smoke of hot coals to promote circulation.  Additionally, 15 years ago, when the pink line on the little white stick silently announced motherhood was on deck in my life, I slid my mouse over the word “File”, clicked “New Document”, and 16 years later I pore over hundreds of records of family life — the wild and the wicked.

When the idea of blogging was planted in my head, I loved the thought, but as I typed my stories, the mere inclination of becoming transparent with the world (or my three followers- thanks mom, dad, and hubby), fear, and apprehension enveloped me. I asked myself and continue to ask: Why should I share my thoughts? What if I offend or hurt someone inadvertently? Who would want to hear what I have to say? Frankly, I can be a little snarky.  Uh oh, people will hate me!

Putting your self “out there” is scary. It’s unsettling. It’s a risk…and somehow, concurrently, it is transforming, cathartic, beautiful, and emancipating.

I will continue my thoughts on vulnerability in Part 2 because my son just announced: “It’s 11:11! Make a wish.”

So here’s mine:  to serve, share, and press PUBLISH with confidence.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage,” – Brené Brown in Rising Strong.


Dig Deep:  After your next run do a 25 rep challenge:  25 – squats, 25 – push-ups, 25 – sit-ups – REPEAT 3 TIMES!

LENTEN CHALLENGE:  Say one decade of the Rosary today.

 

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

20 – 2-minute activities to relieve stress

LENTEN REFLECTIONS #31

I took this picture after I walked with my kids to the bus stop this morning. The trail our feet imprinted was a snapshot of each of us. One set of footprints was my daughter’s, straight and defined, mine seemingly magnetized to each child and my son’s looping around, making his own way to the same destination. The walk took less than two minutes. Two tiny minutes to solidify their after-school plans, gush over the Dogwood blossoms and tell my kids I loved them.

Two minutes.

The walk reminded me of yet another article I read in the Orthodontists office (three kids in braces). The author discussed how sometimes the little tasks in life have the potential to overwhelm our day and push big jobs further into the peripheral. These mental to-do lists can clutter our minds and impose unnecessary stress, so why not just take time to do them?

I wanted to rip out the article and pin it on my shirt like a grade school reminder for picture day. Instead, I thought better of it and simply retained what I could for sharing.

So to remember what I gained from it, I developed a mantra :

Take two minutes to accomplish tiny tasks AND savor meaningful moments.

2-Minute TINY TASKS:

When I see a job that can be completed quickly but requires more inclination than sweat equity, I count through it, literally. Here’s what I mean: I count out loud and time how long the job REALLY takes. One morning, I opened my unorganized bathroom drawer and got that annoyed vibe where instead of just cleaning it out, I want to remodel the entire bathroom. NOW.

After talking myself off the Home Depot ledge, I started my count. 120 seconds later, I had thrown out old lotions, random rubberbands I pulled from my hair when I couldn’t find a hair tie and old make up I swear I’m going to use, but realize it’s easier to look in the mirror without my glasses on than to start using makeup.

After the short 2 minutes, I felt great and the next time I opened the drawer, I felt the cathartic joy I experience when something is done. Ever count through emptying the dishwasher? 2 minutes. Making your bed, 2 minutes or less. It’s the little things we can do NOW rather than later that help make the big picture things like studying for a test, or cleaning the garage or tackling paperwork more doable.

2-Minute MEANINGFUL MOMENTS:

Now those two minutes can also bring immediate joy, like walking with your kids to the bus, snuggling with your partner or petting your dog. In those instances, the tiny two minutes IS meaningful and memorable. A WIN, WIN.

So in an effort to tackle the tiny tasks and embrace the moments that count, I’ve researched and crafted my top 20 things you can accomplish in just 2 minutes.

  1. Floss and brush. Your teeth will thank you at your next checkup.
  2. After washing your hands, wipe off the sink and mirror. Almost clean is sometimes close enough.
  3. Turn on music and dance with your spouse or kids. The natural boost of dopamine will inject your mood with joy.
  4. Put leashes on your dogs. Then go for a walk. Sometimes the 2 minutes it takes to put the leashes on the dogs seem so laborious. They’ll love you for it.
  5. Empty the trash and recycling. Then reline the trash cans. Pull in the bins for the curb also if it’s trash day. Done!
  6. Clean out your purse or backpack. Throw away receipts, tissues, and (if you’re like me) take out the 9 Sharpies. You just need two in a Sharpie emergency…one to give away and one to keep. Wipe bag with a damp cloth.
  7. Shake out all the carpets in your car. You can use a scraper or your hand to help the dirt off. Ahhh…a semi-clean car.
  8. Go through the mail you’ve piled up. Recycle the junk, file the rest.
  9. Clean out the garbage disposal. Combine one part baking soda and two parts vinegar, pour in the disposal, let sit for 30 seconds, add a handful of ice and run the disposal.
  10. Clean out the microwave. Since the vinegar is out, fill a mug with 1/4  cup of vinegar and the rest with water. Heat for 1 minute and let sit for 45 seconds, wipe the oven clean.
  11. Play 52 pick up with your kids. Who cares how old they are? Flip the cards up and let them fly. Pick up quickly and maybe you’ll have time for another game!
  12. Give one of your children a piggyback ride. Here you might care about age and size. If you’re my size, ask your kids to give you a piggyback ride instead. Good luck.
  13. Sweep the front steps. Make the entrance of your home look welcoming and happy.
  14. Untangle all of your charger and other device cords and plug in your phone. It will relieve the stress later.
  15. Declutter your email. Unsubscribe to as many unwanted emails as you can in two minutes!
  16. Check texts and voice mail. Make sure you’ve responded to calls and texts.
  17. Pay your bills online. You’ll be surprised how quickly this can be done.
  18. Comb through your credit card bill. Make sure all charges are legitimate.
  19. Sit down and relax for two minutes. Listen to your breathing. Close your eyes.
  20. Ask your children to tell you the best and worst parts of their day. I like to use open-ended questions in the hopes of having more than a one-minute conversation with them after school. Although frequently their response will still be “GOOD”. I think it’s just the teenage script they read from. If the stars are aligned, it could lead to a great conversation.

Take two minutes. To do the little things. Whether they are weighty and mundane or fulfilling and memorable. You will experience delight in knowing you accomplished them.

My two-minute walk to the bus stop and perhaps over-analysis of the footsteps in the grass brought me a day of joy knowing our kids will ultimately go the way their hearts lead them and always know their way home. 

Life is fleeting, find joy in it even if it is two minutes at a time.

Spiritual Workout – my thought for today:

I wish I could push a bobby pin through the little hole in life’s doorknob, shove the door open and reveal all the answers we are so desperate for.

Workout: Get outside today and walk or run – oh! take those dogs with you.

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

What brings you joy?

LENTEN REFLECTION #30

How do you find happiness? Family? Friends? Money? Stuff? In the TED Talk The Surprising Science of Happiness,  by author Dan Gilbert, he explains the “psychological immune system” which keeps us buoyant even when our plans go haywire. This talk has the potential to alter the way you process what brings you joy.

 

Spiritual Workout: Listen to someone’s story, you’ll be surprised how happy it will make them.

Workout: Pick 6 of your favorite exercises and do each for 30 seconds. Repeat!

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Taxes are taxing…here’s the 2019 plan

Lenten Reflection #29

I follow Clark Howard, the money-saving sage here in the Atlanta area, and I like to pretend I’m one of his deal finding warriors. So weeks ago (really, not today) I stopped by H&R Block to do a price comparison on tax fees.

I asked about the pricing and was told the average tax fee for a homeowner, with basic forms, plus a few extra would be about $348.00. Squelching my gasp, I told the accountant I’d just use Turbo Tax again.

“Okay,” he sighed, “but it takes the average person 22 hours to complete their taxes.”

His statement hung in the air and reminded me of the soothing voice on one of those late night medication commercials where the TV patients who take the bizarre-sounding pills are compelled to run in fields of daisies for hours, smiling incessantly.

Then the voice lowers and reminds the viewer the medication may lead you to drive in your sleep while your throat swells from an allergic reaction. And…you might…die.

“That’s the side effect of doing my own taxes” I mused, it may take 22-hours and there will be no daisies. Anywhere.

“Thanks” I responded, I’ll use my time wisely.”

So the “Old Faithful” of tax prep programs Turbo Tax lead me through another year of fulfilling my obligation as a good citizen. Each year, I think about the boxes I don’t get to check and stuff I don’t have (and certainly don’t need).

So in the spirit of tax season, I’ve crafted a non-sensical TO-DO LIST for us IF our life decisions and purchases were based on the benefits of tax credits and deductions:

  1. START SMOKING – then quit and join a smoking cessation program…great medical expense write off. Ha!
  2. Install an alternative fuel vehicle station in your home – you’ll be the greenest neighbor around! Plus, you may get a tax credit. It MIGHT make sense to purchase an energy efficient car too. 
  3. GO BACK TO SCHOOL – Don’t wait for your kids to go to college, go for the education tax credit now!
  4. OTHER MEDICAL EXPENSES – Maybe this is your year to donate an organ (I’ll pray it’s not).
  5. BUY A BOAT – Who cares if you don’t live by the water, take the write off.
  6. MOVE – If you do it right, you may be able to deduct certain moving expenses.

Outlandish, I know, but when I do our taxes each year, I think about how funny it is to dissect the fine print of the tax laws and imagine how many boxes other people check. In all seriousness, with the standard deduction higher this year, you could completely skip itemizing and just stick to basics.

Seven days until tax day. It didn’t take 22 hours to complete ours, so I’m sure I missed something. Anyway, it’s time to go boat shopping.

Spiritual Workout – What charity will you donate to this year? Money or time?

Workout – Try a spin class. Most gyms will give you a free guest pass so you can see what you think before committing.

 

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

Parenting and exercise – 5 ways to make it work without the guilt

IMG_0540LENTEN REFLECTION: #28

I ripped this page out of a 1990-something Runner’s World Magazine to remind me why I run and it’s hung on our refrigerator ever since. It’s the subtle reminder I need when the guilt of exercising overwhelms me. It screams, “Lace up and go! Now!”

Here’s how I learned to fit exercise in when my kids were younger…

I had everything timed. While my boys were napping, I would do an at-home workout. At 2:20 as the P-90X or Shaun T cool down concluded, I’d switch off the DVD or treadmill and quietly walk about 30 steps to meet my daughter at the elementary school bus stop. Most days I arrived dripping in sweat from a workout. I repeated this ritual for nine years.

Eventually, the kids got used to my semi-sweaty hello kisses and groaned less each time.  In a sense, I was training the kids to know exercise was part of the day. Kind of a Pavlov effect. Sweaty mom equals a happy mom.

I remember speaking to a friend at church about fitting in workouts. He said, “When my wife complains about my running, I have to remind her I really do it for her.” I nodded, saying, “I get it. I do it for my kids.”

It’s one of those conversations people may overhear and think we’re selfish and crazy…well, maybe.

Frequently, Catholic guilt lurks behind the corners of my decisions and since naptime was retired years ago, I naturally feel bad if I exercise while the kids are home now that they are older.

But now we understand each other and often times, they’ll encourage me and my husband to go run or go to the gym. We take them to practices for their respective sports and never once have they said, “I’m going to exercise really hard for 2 hours, but I feel really guilty about it.” It’s just part of our lifestyle.

Now for the last 27 days, I’ve felt that same remorse blogging. I write during stolen moments of guilt while our kids stare at their exhausted devices and labor over homework. But I can’t stop. Writer’s high is akin to the one of running and is highly addictive. There is joy in sharing my untidy life story and hope that a tiny bit of my parental insight might benefit another soul.

I’ve learned to let the guilt go. After all these years, my kids understand me and can even exercise with me or edit my blog posts. They appreciate that our family values lifelong fitness.

After all, I really do it for them.

Fine. Mostly me.

Here are my top 5 tips on how to fit exercise in and minimize the guilt:

  1. TAKE TURNS WITH YOUR PARTNER – Take turns exercising. One works out, the other helps with homework.
  2. ASK YOUR KIDS TO WORKOUT WITH YOU – Do a 10-minute workout with your kids. Depending on their age, you could run around the block together or they could ride a bike while you run alongside. If they are younger, do simple Yoga stretches like butterfly and cat/cow.
  3. ACCEPT A SHORT WORKOUT – realize even a short 20-minute run or workout will do. Some days I set a goal to do 100 burpees. I’ll break it up throughout the day, or knock it out in sets of 10 with a 45-second rest in between.
  4. HAVE A PLAYDATE WORKOUT – Meet a friend at a playground, play with your kids and mix in playground exercises like push-ups at the end of the slide, monkey bar hanging hold or chin-up hold and planks.
  5. FOCUS ON NUTRITION – Make a healthy meal with your family. Think about the 80/20 philosophy. When you hit 40 years of age, maintaining good health is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise. Sad, but true.

Run on!

Spiritual Workout: Take a walk with your kids and just listen. Don’t try to fix, just listen.

 

 

 

 

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

 

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.