Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

Lent’s alarm

Lenten Reflections #3

I was thinking about the backstory of Lent. The “Why”.

Not how it all transpired. Moreso, how it changes us and makes us better. Or not.

So I turned to two of my favorite writers for words of wisdom: Pope Francis and Anne Lamott.

When writing about Ash Wednesday, Lamott said,

So God bless you all today, GOOD. Whether you celebrate Ash Wednesday or not, it is always a day for awakening. Don’t hit the snooze button. Wake up, right now, spritz yourself with a plant mister, look around, gape, give thanks, help the poor…

Pope Francis also connected Lent with an awakening:

“Lent comes providentially to reawaken us, to shake us from our lethargy.”

Our long winter’s nap ends as we embrace the change in mind, body, and spirit Lent freely provides. 

Make a change. Make it positive and make it now.

FAITH Challenge: say a quick prayer every time you hear a siren today.

FITNESS Challenge: Go for a walk or run.

 

Posted in Family, Faith and Fitness

40 Day Challenge – what will you do?

40 Days of Raw Refelctions

Day #1

The season of Lent is underway. Forty days dedicated to almsgiving, sacrifice, commitment and since the world is desperate for more of it, kindness.

We arrived at Ash Wednesday mass tonight and parking was sparse. During mass, my daughter returned from the bathroom and told me in her loud church whisper that the sacristy (church lobby) was full of faithful Catholics waiting for the next mass. “It’s like Black Friday out there!” she said.

And why wouldn’t it be? Lent is like a do-over or second chance scenario.

Pope Francis said,

Lent…is a time of grace during which we can change our lives by letting God gaze upon us with love.

The Pope noted that the ashes on our foreheads should influence the thoughts passing through our minds.

He said we should ask ourselves,

“What am I living for?”

If we live for fleeting, worldly realities, then we spend our lives chasing after dust, moving backward from life to ashes. But, he said, if we live to love and make God’s dream a reality, then we allow the fire of love to be kindled in our hearts.

We are all broken and flawed, yet we are also wildly unique and extraordinary. Together, let’s take the next 40 days and find more of who we are and how we can make a difference in our world. 

 

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

regret

It was the day I was working inside a 4th-grade classroom when the lead teacher was talking about emotions that I thought about the word regret. “It can be one of the most difficult emotions to experience,” she said. The nine-year-olds shared what they saw as regrets in their lives, so far. “I wish I would have talked to my grandfather more before he died,” said one wide-eyed boy. “I regret forgetting my dollar for ice cream day at lunch,” said another.

R-E-G-R-E-T. Six simple letters strung together to make up one of the trickiest feelings to well, FEEL. Some of our top regrets typically pertain to education, career, love, parenting, finance, health, spirituality and hobbies or lack thereof.

But alas, there are ways to avoid the sinking feeling clinging to regret.

  1.  Don’t story top. Listen first. Take the time to really hear the people you’re with and if the moment presents itself, take your turn. Many times when we think we’re listening, we’re really sifting through of our matching files poising ourselves to jump in and add to the conversation.
  2. Let your kids problem-solve. When the wrestling match is taking place on the living room floor or the study guide is left at home, give them time to come up with a solution before jumping in with yours. You’ll regret solving it for them.
  3. Avoid the green-eyed-monster. Stan and Jan Berenstain said it best in another of their lesson packed books, The Berenstain Bears and the Green-Eyed Monster 
    Sister tried really hard to be happy for Brother as he opened his gifts “…besides, she wasn’t interested in aluminum bats…anyway.” Comparing sparks regret. Don’t fall for it. Your car is good enough, your home is good enough and you are too. Celebrate you and yours.
  4. Take time for each other. This one is time-sensitive. So do it now.

The bottom line, feel good about your choices. I know some days we pour our buckets full of things we PRAY we’ll have the chutzpah to risk. It’s the other days when we hope all of our regrets are sitting in a bucket with a hole in it, dear Liza.

Here are some great thoughts by Brené Brown on regret that are worth sharing:

I’ve found regret to be one of the most powerful emotional reminders that change and growth are necessary. In fact, I’ve come to believe that regret is a kind of package deal: A function of empathy, it’s a call to courage and a path toward wisdom.

Like all emotions, regret can be used constructively or destructively, but the wholesale dismissal of regret is wrongheaded and dangerous. “No regrets” doesn’t mean living with courage, it means living without reflection.

To live without regret is to believe you have nothing to learn, no amends to make, and no opportunity to be braver with your life. I’m not suggesting that we have to live with regret, but I do think it’s important to allow ourselves to experience and feel it.

One of the truest things I’ve ever heard about regret came from George Saunders’s 2013 commencement address at Syracuse University. He said, “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded . . . sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.”

 

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

How do I use hashtags when blogging?

So I did a little research on “#” hashtags today. The main job of these four little lines # is not just the starting point for a tic-tac-toe game or the number/pound sign…

The hashtag # is just that, a tag to help a reader locate messages, blogs or tweets within a specific category.

Think of your journey through Publix Grocery Store. The cereal sign dangling at the end of the aisle leads you right to your Honey Nut Cheerios. The snacks and water sign ushers you over to the row full of pretzels and eight new types of soda water that forced yummy La Croix to the bottom row. It’s all set up to lead you to what you love.

Hashtags do the same thing. This user-generated system helps readers easily find messages with a specific theme or content, and serves as the ideal scaffolding to build your #tribe.

I must admit, by the time I finish my blog, I peek at the corner of the screen and see the Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 8.36.06 PM.png button lingering in the corner and desperately want to click it.

BUT…in WordPress.com not .org (still researching the difference between the two, I’m such a rookie) there’s a little section on the side that looks like this:Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 8.43.51 PM.png

and prior to clicking PUBLISH, the “Tags” section should be filled with hashtags that connect with what you are writing. Lately, I’ve been making up my own which is fun, but evidently, after my hashtag study, there’s a system.

Here’s what I learned, so far:

  1. Your hashtag should make sense. If it’s not an organic fit, it won’t reach your people and isn’t that the goal?
  2. Invoke curiosity. We’re all creators in this space and when our interest is piqued, intellect and happiness follow.
  3. Make it simple and memorable. 
  4. Do your homework. When connecting with your community find out what hashtags are already out there.

The bottom line, I’m still learning and growing as a #blogger and #writer. But I’m confident that #practice will help me #succeed. As #exhausting #blogging can be, I hope to build a little #tribe that enjoys #runonmom.com and sharing #ourstories. 

One more lesson:

5. DONT’ OVER HASHTAG!

Obviously, I’m still learning and my knowledge will evolve as I grow as a blogger. For now, in the words of Dorie, I’ll “just keep swimming”. 

Need more information? Here are some resources:

According to The Ultimate Guide to Instagram Hashtags for 2020, “Hashtags are essentially Instagram’s sorting process. With around 95 million photos posted on Instagram every day, it’s difficult for Instagram to efficiently deliver the right content to the right people. Hashtags help your post get discovered by viewers most interested in seeing it.”

In this link, The 500 Best Instagram Hashtags For Bloggers, lyricalhost.com generously gives lists of the best hashtags for your specific audience. “Where possible, hashtags are grouped in batches of thirty related ones so you can just copy and paste them, but of course you’re welcome to mix and match them too.”

 

 

 

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

Cokie Roberts: a mom & legend

A few years ago, I was volunteering at 90.1 WABE, in Atlanta, during an NPR spring fundraiser. I glanced up from my seat and spotted Cokie Roberts leaving after an interview. Without hesitation, I quickly placed my phone on unavailable, pulled off my headset and dashed over to say hello.

She was absolutely lovely.

We spoke for a moment about Washington, DC, and the coincidence that we were both members of Blessed Sacrament Church off Chevy Chase Circle. In fact, Father D’Silva, a tender-hearted priest who married Justin and I also married her children.

As she picked up her bags to go, I asked an elderly gentleman who was exiting the building, to take our picture. His hand wiggled when he held my phone WAY out in front of him pointing it more toward the sky than at us, but somehow he managed to get a nice blurry photo.

I was elated. 

It’s been almost four months since Cokie Roberts died from breast cancer complications, but the legend of her spirit, her unwavering support of women and her passion for politics still grace the halls of the U.S. Capitol. Equally valued was her voice on being a mother and raising children.

In her book, We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters she says,

Caretaking–that’s the common thread that runs through these stories. No matter what else women are doing, we are also “mothering” –taking care of somebody or something, and, for the most part, doing it joyously. That’s what women have been doing from the beginning and, I believe, will continue to do. I think we’ve been doing it awfully well for a very long time.”

Cokie: a mom and a legend.

I keep her picture on the desktop of my computer to remind me what a true model of poise, integrity, and professionalism looks like.

It was an honor to meet such a stellar woman and as a mom and “writer” I value what she stood for and cherish that brief moment she took to chat with me.

IN THE WORDS OF COKIE ROBERTS:

A lot of women have come to understand that you can’t just show up and say I’m unhappy, you have to then go out and do something.

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

7 things I’ve learned from blogging…so far

“Other than writing a daily blog (a practice that’s free, and priceless), reading more blogs is one of the best ways to become smarter, more effective and more engaged in what’s going on. The last great online bargain.” –Seth Godin

Thanks for reading my blog.

Here’s what I’m learning, day by day…

  1. Good writing is about telling the truth – fear of vulnerability is not allowed to even peek over the fence into my blogosphere.
  2. It’s not about me – there’s always another parent out there whose kid forgot their trumpet, homework, lunch, or science project and are sitting in carpool waiting for the line to move so they can go home and retrieve the forgotten item and deliver it…only to be looked at as “that mom”. I’m blogging for you because you’re NOT alone.
  3. Knowledge and research matter – my current expertise consists of parenting failures and follies. If I can help someone learn from my mistakes and experiences, I’ve succeeded.
  4. Passion is the key to writing – sharing stories about family, faith, and fitness brings me joy.
  5. Blog. Repeat. Blog. Repeat – Most people thrive on consistency. I like consistent change. In fact, I rearrange our furniture so often my family barely even notices anymore (less stubbed toes). 
  6. Time to get social – as a mom I feel like I’m constantly monitoring the phone usage of our teenagers. Therefore, setting up all the social networks to share my story seems hypocritical — yet so thrilling if more people read my blog and enjoy it. 🙂
  7. Patience and conscientiousness are critical ingredients for every blog – maybe for some, blogging comes easy. For me, the writing is the fun part, the peripheral (SEO, email lists, hosting, platforms, plug-ins…oh my!) is like trying to read without my glasses, blurry and overwhelming BUT if I squint and hold the words far away everything clears up. Sometimes I just need to refocus.

I love blogging and telling stories and I welcome any feedback to help runonmom.com make a difference in your world.

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

Beyond Bunnies: A profile

LENTEN REFLECTIONS #39

Are we Easter people living in a Good Friday world? Here’s a profile of a must-read article:

In an interview with NPR titled Beyond Bunnies: The Real Meaning Of Easter Season, Anne Lamott discusses this idea originally penned by author Barbara Johnson. “Well, it’s the most profound holiday in the Christian tradition,” Lamott says. “And I think two things really come to mind. One is something that the great writer Barbara Johnson said, which is that we are Easter people living in a Good Friday world. And I think that every year the world seems more of a Good Friday world. And it’s excruciating, whether it’s Japan, or Libya, or whether its your own best friends and their children who are sick, which is something that makes no sense when you think about a loving God.”

It makes me think Lent has a way of flagging what we overuse, underdo and ignore. It makes us stare sacrifice in the face and see who blinks first. 

The interview is profound and telling, reminding all of us we are here in this life for a quick minute. Ash Wednesday kicks us in the rear and reminds us we are indeed – ashes to ashes, dust to dust – it is up to us to grow far beyond ourselves, past our worries and merge onto the road of joy and mercy.

Spiritual Workout: Say these Holy Week prayers, inspired by Anne Lamott:

  • Help me to see my own darkness and quit pretending it doesn’t matter.

  • Help me to know how very loved I am, despite my own protests to the contrary.

  • And help me to understand that running the universe is not my job.

Workout: 25 Burpees, 25 push-ups, repeat

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

5 things to tell your kids now!

#34 Lenten Reflections

As my children age, they repeatedly tell me what I forget. Maybe it’s reminding, but their tone is more of a “Mamahhhhh!!! Don’t forgehhhht, I have to be at school earlyuhhhh” (teenagers dangle an uhhhh on the end of words for emphasis). I don’t mind the reminders, in fact, most of the time I’ve written things down on one of 3 calendars feeling quite organized yet forget to merge the three. So a nudge to remember what’s on deck for the week is welcome.

I’m grateful they can remind me about the logistical stuff, but with three teenagers jockeying school, sports, hormones, and I wish I knew what else — as their mother, I am responsible to help lessen the weight of their mental baggage. That’s on me to remember.

When their moods speak louder than the local tornado alarm, at that moment I smite my forehead and remember the 5 things I have to remind my kids. (Feel free to reword, otherwise, you may be met with the familiar eye rolls…but I believe some of it sinks in, gushy or not):

  1. You are each given gifts only you can share with the world.

  2. Listen to the little voice in your head when decisions seem impossible to tackle. It will tell you when to take the AP class and when to opt out of being the passenger in a car full of teenagers

  3. We are ALL born hard-wired for struggle, some days are going to be lousy but that’s normal.

  4. You are worthy of love.

  5. You are enough. You matter.

But just a little reminder to anyone reading this…sit for a minute and read #1-5 a few times. They apply to us too.

Spiritual Workout: It’s Palm Sunday…my favorite kinesthetic mass. What can you make with palms?

Workout: Enjoy a nice bike ride with a friend! If it rains, play a board game, take a break and do 30 push ups and 30 squats.

 

 

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.