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, 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.

 

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

Trump. Defined.

Lenten Blog #16

I love words, research, and storytelling.

When I was a kid, finding definitions involved a physical and mental investment.

During homework, if we said, “Mom! What’s a _________?” Before we could even get the word out, mom, a fierce believer in fostering independence in each of us, would holler, “Look it up!”. Then the work began.

Finding the definition meant we had to get up from studying and lug the Big-Red-Webster-Dictionary to the kitchen table. Then we’d have to recall our dictionary skills and how to use the guide words at the top and flip through the thinnest paper ever invented to find the word. Researching was a workout too. It meant poring through our Big-Brown-Encyclopedias. They were like a tangible Google with gold letters on the spine and significant GIRTH.

Today, I can ask Google, Alexa or Siri facts and definitions, or I can sit and physically type words into the computer (exhausting. Ha.)

This week I was intrigued by certain verbiage which crept into the news. Although not complicated or extraneous, the words seemed to intertwine in an odd and sad way.

Words like bullying, prisoner of war, president, disparaging and Trump.

According to a story on NPR’s Morning Edition, Among False Claims, Trump Attacked McCain For Failing Veterans,Trump spoke about Senator McCain,

“I gave him [McCain] the kind of funeral that he wanted, which as president I had to approve…I don’t care about this. I didn’t get [a] thank you. That’s OK. We sent him on the way, but I wasn’t a fan of John McCain.”

In response to this statement, Georgia’s Johnny Isakson, chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee told Georgia Public Broadcasting,

“It’s deplorable what he said — it will be deplorable seven months from now, if he says it again, and I will continue to speak out…We’re all Americans. There aren’t Democratic casualties and Republican casualties on the battle field there are American casualties and we should never reduce the service that people give to this country.”

It broke my heart hearing such harsh words toward Senator McCain who passed away August 25, 2018. After all, he was a son, father, husband, soldier, public servant, prisoner of war and ultimately an American hero.

Unfortunately, when it comes to choosing words, our new normal seems to give the President carte blanche, no matter how cruel.

Our kids are teenagers now and very aware of the words they hear at school, in songs, on the internet, on the bus, and on the news. They are old enough to decide how they want to communicate and the words they will choose.

They always say the single lesson learned from our current president is what NOT to say. 

Instead, as a family, we’ve decided to stay the course and share words like mercy, grace, and empathy. These are the words that matter. The words to live by and teach our children. 

After listening to a podcast with my son about aspiring 2020 presidential candidates, he eloquently stated, “We need a change, someone who gets it. Something entirely new. A new voice.”

Now those are words worth listening to…

By the way, Here’s Trump. Defined.

According to vocabulary.com.

To trump is to outrank or defeat someone or something, often in a highly public way. … Originally trump implied a deceptive form of victory involving cheating, but that sense has been largely lost, though it’s still around in the term trumped up, meaning something that’s been falsely made up.

Spiritual Journey: Pray you always choose the right words.

Workout: I’m going for a run, the sun is finally out. Get outside!