Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This Little Piggy Should Have Stayed Home

My runner's feet are used to many ailments...well earned ailments! I have dealt with blister's and  bouts of Plantar Faciitis. I have even travelled up the leg to torn ligaments, skinned knees, and, yes, the palms of my hands which I used to break many falls.

With all of these "earned" afflictions, it is somewhat disappointing to report that my latest injury was acquired by walking. Yes, walking. I should be used to the fact that 7 year-old boys do not stride with the same purpose as adults. They meander. They stroll. They abruptly stop...perhaps in front of their mother...who, perhaps, wasn't paying attention...who may have hit her little piggy at just the right angle on her son's heel to send zings of pain flying through her foot. Perhaps.

I am not sure if my little toe is broken or just severely bruised. I do know that upon seeing it the next morning my 5 year-old asked if it was going to fall off. She seemed to be a bit disappointed when I told her I didn't think so. Maybe she was hoping for a piece of toe to take to school for Share Day.

The good news is that I can still run with only a little pain. And I do mean little because I am no friend of pain or anything that causes it. This is where anyone who doesn't run will question my sanity. "Why would you keep running with a possible broken piggy?" Maybe if I didn't run I wouldn't understand it either. I only know that I have a half marathon coming up and I am committed to finishing it. And, I also know that running is a part of me. I would define myself as a runner. Not a win-the-half-marathon type of runner, but a turtle-along-and-cross-the-finish-line type of runner.

So, I get to add distorted little piggy to my list of peculiar injuries and ailments. And, unless it falls off in my shoe I plan to be at the start line on race day. I think this littlest piggy should have taken the lead of his little piggy friends and stayed home or at least opted for roast beef.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Why I "heart" fitness

I am a bit of a fitness nut...not so much a nutrition nut but, I definitely have an affinity for fitness training. I truly love working out and running. Because I have small kids, I workout in the wee hours of the morning while they and my husband sleep. I think I would be too exhausted at the end of the day to lace up my running shoes anyhow. And, it is kind of fun to be up before the bulk of the population.

I run two days a week with my running buddy and that same running buddy is also my workout partner. Three days a week we carpool to our church where our trainer meets with us and others willing to punish...oops! I really meant PUSH...our bodies at 5am. On Saturdays, I meet up with my brother and we take in our longer runs that keep us ready for a half marathon now and then.

I don't see myself as a lean, mean muscle machine. Probably because I haven't developed the same love I have for fitness with my nutrition. I am sure that is coming though! As we were running this morning, my buddy and I tried to find our true motivation for getting up before the roosters and running with lights on our heads so we can see through the darkness. Why do we do this?

We realized we do it in large part for our daughters. Both mothers of young girls, we are trying to be examples for them. We are trying to keep ourselves in decent shape so we don't criticize our weight or appearance in front of them. It really struck us that we don't want to beat ourselves down in front of our girls and have them inherit that same warped perception.

I'll admit to standing in front of a mirror and bemoaning my shape; my size; my hair; my face. But, I am increasingly conscious of this now that I have a daughter. I don't want her to think she is ever anything but beautiful and exactly how God intended for her to look. I know, right? I should feel this same way about myself.

Unfortunately, somewhere around junior high my self-confidence took a nose dive. I struggled with self-image for years. High school was modern day torture. I withdrew into myself and became painfully shy and awkward. Anyone who knows me now might find this tough to imagine...I am the girl who talked to the guy who dumps the solar potties in Yosemite on my last hike to Half Dome. I have the gift of gab and I regularly exercise it.

I don't want my daughter to ever feel inferior. I don't want her to wrestle on too-tight pants and then feel so large it feels that she is taking up more than her allotted space on this planet. I don't want her to give so much thought to her appearance that she misses out on some of life's little gifts like meeting new people or trying new things.

It wasn't until I started skydiving that I finally released the chains that bound me. It was when I started to purposely exit an aircraft in mid-air that I developed a sense of being able to do anything and accomplish anything. I began to care less about my hair and began to realize that I had a lot to say about a lot of things.

A shining moment for me was when I was talking to two guys at the drop zone and making both of them laugh. I couldn't believe I had captivated the opposite sex. When they began to argue about which one was going to ask me out on a date I was completely flabbergasted and, admittedly, flattered!

After I stopped skydiving, I took up running which lead to my love of fitness. No longer a spring chicken, it takes a bit more effort to keep myself in semi-decent shape. But, I do it because I honestly do crave the endorphins and I want to do what I can to help keep my self-image from warping again. I work out for myself and for my daughter. My amazing little girl that once told me, "I have the prettiest mommy. I just love you!" I replied that I loved her back and that she was positively beautiful. It was at that moment that she looked up at me with those cocoa brown eyes and said, " I know, Mommy. I know." That is the self-confidence I want her to hang onto too!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

When Murphy's Law and Optimism Collide

As the title of my blog suggests, I did have a house that burned down and had to be re-built. These are the things that happen to other people right? According to my friends, I am their "other" person. I am the one most likely to trip when being introduced to royalty; the one most likely to give myself a black-eye while starting the lawnmower; the one most likely to run into a glass door thinking that it is open. Thankfully, none of these things have happened...yet! Give me time.

Murphy’s Law simply states: “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” I know this law well. This law appears to govern my life. A bit of self-fulfilling prophecy? Not really. The fact is I am very much an optimist. I see the positive side of most situations and maintain a fairly bright disposition. I was once dubbed by a colleague as “chronically happy” as if I had a debilitating abnormal personality trait.

In my life of stumbles, delays, failures, and sheer shocks, I have continually attempted to focus on being thankful for whatever comes my way. The bible – our instruction manual for life – tells us to be thankful in all circumstances. This is not always the easiest task.

Often, being thankful is not an obstacle at all. You find a $5 bill on the ground. Thanks, God! An unexpected discount appears on your phone bill. Thank you, God! You have a great hair day. I love you, God! Other times being thankful is a supreme challenge. Your home is completely destroyed by a fire. Um…hmmm…thank you?

Hindsight is 20/20. After the fact, I find it easy to see why things played out the way they did. I believe everything happens for a reason far greater than any plan I have for myself. When all is said and done, I can look back and think, "Oh! Of course! That led to that, which led to that, which put me here." DUH! But, in the mix of things it is easy to lose sight of anything positive. When we are overcome with grief, doubt, hurt, or pain, being thankful is the last emotion we want to tap into too.

When the stakes are high and the challenges are insurmountable it is easier to scream; easier to lash out; easier to crumble and weep; easier to cast blame. It is harder to say, "Thank you." It is hard to look at the ceiling which now lays on the bed you occupied moments prior and say, "Thank you. Thank you for not letting me be under that rubble."

It is easier to shout, "WHY ME?" rather than quietly be thankful that the brown shag carpet met its demise.

It is easier to curse the smoke detector for not going off until the firemen arrived rather than thank my husband for waking me from a slumber laced with carbon monoxide.

It is harder to be thankful because we simply don't think of it. When the chips are down and things are bleak it is in our nature to plot out worst case scenarios.

While standing in our kitchen and peering up at the hazy blue sky where a ceiling should have been it took all my muster to think, "The cabinets are still hanging. Our wedding dishes survived!"

It was in fact on that foggy day that I decided I would not bemoan my situation. I consciously became thankful of every little and every enormous gift.

My husband and our animals all survived without a scratch. We kept our wits about ourselves. We were calm and rationale. The firemen saved our photos and financial records. They found my great-grandmother's pearls. The dress I was sure I would wear again was destroyed so I would never have to have that yard-sale-or-not battle again. My cell phone was in my hand for an unexplainable reason. It provided us with a means to call 911, our family, our insurance agent. We found a pile of clothes near out bedroom window that the firemen had tossed out. It allowed us to put on something other than pajamas and our neighbors two sizes too small sneakers. We saw the goodwill of friends and strangers. As far as house fires go, I would say ours was pretty much OK.

It was a day that tested my own ability to offer thanksgiving. Everyone needs a thankful heart and a spirit of gratitude. We can all exist. That is easy. I believe it is far better to live and experience. Embrace your obstacles. Skew them; tilt them; twist them. Soon the light will hit them at a different angle and you will see your point of thankfulness.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Country Living

A few years I made the change from city dweller to county bumpkin. All for love I made the change. Before I met and married my husband a world without sidewalks held no appeal for me. I was used to living within hearing distance of my neighbors conversations and backyard antics. I relished that I had a supermarket and a Target within a mile of my house. I liked that my yard work could be done within a couple hours and then I could focus on yard play...planting flowers; playing with the dogs; or simply watching clouds pass in a lawn chair.

Now, the yard is a lot larger and a trip to the supermarket takes a bit more thought. It would be an impossibility to finish up the yard work on our 2.25 acres within two hours. In fact, I would venture to say that our yard work is never done. There is always something that needs mowing or pruning or planting. It takes a shout out of "Hello" to grab our neighbors' attention for a friendly wave. And, the only backyard activities we are aware of are smells of barbecue in the vicinity.

Before county living I didn't know a thing about wells or septic tanks. I didn't realize that wells ran dry and septic tanks filled up. I didn't know a person could buy propane by the gallon and have it delivered by truck. And, I surely did not know that it would take several hundred gallons to keep a home functioning through the course of a year. I never knew about a "Weed Witch" that could cite me if my grass was too long too far into the fire season. "Mosquito abatement" meant about as much to me as "culling a tree."

But there are other things. No longer do we have to drive to the mountains to see the stars at night. No longer do we wish our neighbors party would cease at midnight because we need sleep. We see wildlife like kit foxes and coyotes weekly. We own an owl house and have it perched in a tree. We have three-foot holes ...I mean "caves"... in our back field dug by our children that have the freedom to explore a tree-lined space in safety.

We are part of a community to that waves you into traffic and greets you at the market. We are kindred spirits that relish the quietness of country living. We can actually hear the wind blow through the trees and the bees buzzing on the summer grass.

So, for love I gave up the rush of city living; the convenience of living smack in the middle of things. But, I gained so much more and found in myself a person that enjoys the contentment of country living; the contentment in coming "home."