Fun Fit 5K Plus

Having fun, getting fit, loving life

Dear Childless Mother


My friend,

I know Mothers Day can be hard.

I, myself, am not a “mother” in a biological sense.

I have had 3 miscarriages thanks to PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and a blood clotting disorder.

I am not angry about not having children.

I feel that having children does not make me more valuable or make my life more meaningful.

A lot of women can have children.

I take offense with the voice of some that feel my job as a married woman is to produce children or to adopt.

Today people, well meaning and loving, will tell me (and I am sure, you too) “Happy Mother’s Day.”

Some with pity and some with knowledge that I have been a mother to my students and nephews and nieces and others in my life.

And it’s fine if not accompanied by a look of sadness or an extra long hug.

I have a wonderful life.

I bet you do too.

Full of love and action and hope and joy and travel and family and friends.

I have not felt called to the beautiful gift of adoption.

But one day that still may happen.

Birth mom’s who sacrifice the greatest gift, their child, you are the most amazing gift of all.

I can’t imagine the hurt you must try to overcome.  Remember that you are still a mother.

Your love stretches for miles.

Adoptive parents, (Mel & Kev), you are blending families together.  You are awesome!

Genetics is not what makes up a parent.

Nurturing those children you feed through charity,

Teaching all those wondering minds,

Watching those games and plays of nephews and nieces,

Taking your friends children to school,

Consoling someone who is sad,

We are mothers in the best way.

Is there sometimes sadness while thinking about the fact that you(I) can’t give your (my)  husband something he wants?

Of course.

But I am not incomplete and neither are you.

I don’t need to be wished a “Happy Mothers Day.”

I am happy to feel accepted for who I am, regardless of if I have a child.

No pity or sadness.

Just love me for who I am.

Dear childless mother,

I love and accept you for who you are.

No pity – I join you in solidarity today as we negotiate around the words that are meant in love but sometimes devalue the very purpose in our lives.

Not being a mother may be the best gift I can give you, the children in my care, my friends and family and those a world away.

You are a worthwhile and amazing person, just the way you are.

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And He Breathed Life Into Me

I have been on a hiatus of sorts. 

I started working again. 

Not of need, but of want. For more. 

That itch had started within my heart. 

“Now. ” It whispered. 

I was ready. 

It had been 3 years. Of healing. 

Of breathing. Of family. 

A lift up after being thrown down. 

3 miscarriages. 20 months of hopes, dreams, disappointing endings, sadness. Grief took over. 

Forever those who have lost and I will share an unspoken understanding. 

But I also know the joys of what I had and my eyes were opened upon my healing. 

God breathed life into me. Yet again. 

As He did at my beginning and everyday since. 

He has shown me early on. 

“Teach.”  

“Bring them to Me.”

I take a deep breath. It is His. 

I am filled and then some. 

The gift of my work is through the Spirit. The joy of surrender. 

I say, ” Take over. Love them through me. Teach them through me.”

Deep breath. Ah. Life. 

Freedom. 

And so He breathes life into me and I want to share it with you and my students and my family. 

It spills out of me. As it should. 

Imperfectly I try to pass it on. 

That life sustaining breath. 

Take a deep breath. It is His. 

Feel peace. Love. Healing. Joy. 

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The Beeping Closet

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It’s Sunday morning.

Early Sunday morning.

How early, you ask?

Early enough.

And there is a beeping that has me mad.

 

Let’s go back though to Friday night.

Friday night we attended a musical put on by a local playgroup.

“Nunsense” is a hilarious take on a group of nuns trying to raise money to bury some of their fellow sisters 

who had passed away while eating a soup poisoned unknowingly by one of the nuns  who was also the not-so-great cook.

Lots of laughs, enjoyable singing and involvement with the audience led to a fun night with our friends and family.

Which led to feeling a bit energized after the show.

 

So since we weren’t quite ready to go to bed,

we thought we would catch up on some of our recorded shows.

“The Taste” was first on the list,

and we couldn’t wait to find out which contestants would go home and what fantastic spoonfuls would the judges get to take a bite of.

We love this show because first of all the judges are great chef’s who obviously know what they are doing when it comes to the kitchen, also they are entertaining with their sarcastic wit, or delicately described dishes or their ability to know that one missing element that needs to be added to make a perfect spoon.

The contestants are a mix of wonderful stories you hope leads into winning

and over confident people you don’t mind seeing go home.

I mean this one girl just will not listen to her mentor, Nigella.

She needs to go home!  Yet she is still there and not because she can cook.  

She just skates on by.   Making food not quite horrible enough to send her packing.

This is what makes a great show- 

a controversial player staying in the game while clearly they should not be there when compared to the competent and likable contestants.

You are cheering for the good and booing the bad.

 

Well, when we finished that show,

I had to watch American Idol.

I mean this season (so far) exceeds the last 5 years in watchability. 

Harry Connick Jr. just absolutely makes this season worthwhile.

 

It was late and we should have just gone to bed,

but no…

And so it was after 1:30 when our heads hit our pillows.

We knew,

yes,

we knew that the next morning would come quickly.

 

The alarms went off at 7:00 a.m. in harmony.

We had to get up and pack and get the dogs stuff ready and shower and be ready to go

for my father-in-law and step-mother-in-law who were picking us up. 

We were going to St. Louis to ultimately see our nephew in his high school play.

 

Boy, did we know we were going to be tired.

But I took a shot of delicious Nespresso and prepared in a hurry.

Off we went with a stop at Costco.

A long stop.

Have you been to Costco??

I mean every few moments you have to stop and try another sample.

(This is not a bad thing.)

What we sampled:

a shot of juice (made from a juicer they were pushing- no thanks),

pretzel bread  (so now we have to create a party to use the 16 rolls purchased thanks to the sample),

orange slices,

pear slices,

a cracker with huge amount of spinach dip (absolutely had us thinking about getting the vat of dip),

a burrito,

pasta and to finish it all off,

several samples of “Fitz” rootbeer.

This should have been enough for the whole day,

but of course this was just an appetizer for lunch.

 

Next up we went to lunch,

I know I know,

but we were just going to have something light.

Edgewild is a winery and restaurant.

The decor is  rustic modern and ambient.

A mix of wood beams and metal, we felt cozy and comfortable.

 

I chose to try the fish tacos

(of course I think it was named something more spectacular).

It was grouper with cabbage, cilantro and an avocado cream sauce.

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This was the best fish taco I have ever had!

The texture was a perfect blend of crunchy and soft and the flavors were amazing with a subtle kick in the end.

Definitely this chef was inspired by “The Taste.”

We had to share some dessert, I mean you don’t have a delicious main and then forget the dessert.

So we shared a half-baked chocolate chip cookie with cinnamon ice cream.

Gooey and chocolatey goodness.

Now our meal was complete.

 

After lunch and our Costco provided appetizers we probably should have worked out or walked a couple of miles,

but what did we do?

We checked into the hotel and watched a movie.

 

Our nephew’s play was a mystery.

Based on Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians,”

basically these 10 characters were getting murdered one-by-one.

Who did it?

Our nephew.

He was confident and convincing.

We were proud and happy to have had the opportunity to witness his moment.

 

The after-party was at my sister-in-laws with pizza and salad and dessert.

We had a great time catching up with family and suddenly it was time to go back to the hotel.

Once again we were up late and were planning on getting up early on Sunday,

which leads me to Sunday morning.

 

At 5:30 a.m. I was sleeping beautifully sound,

that was until there was a loud beeping.

Brian thought it was my phone alarm.

I thought it was his.

Wrong.

 

Beep!

Beep!

Beep!

It kept screaming at us.

I get up (tired and now angry) and start the search.

And then I found it.

Locked behind a closet door.

The beeping seemed to taunt us,

“You can’t get to me.  Beep!

Wake up.   Beep!”

 

Ugh.

So it was 5:30 on Sunday morning and we were tired but

we got up and got ready for church and went about our day.

No pleasant nap mid-day,

but a busy flurry of activity.

 

Sleep lost,

will never be found again.

And time well spent is never regretted.

The moral of the story?

Don’t give up the people and things you enjoy just for some sleep.

Yes I can get cranky in the morning after little sleep,

but nothing a little coffee can’t fix.

Oh- and the other moral-

bring some noise canceling headphones to your hotel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A (Self-Titled) Professional Shoppers Guide to Gift Giving

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This is a print.

A signed print by a local artist of a local subject matter.

A historic ice cream parlor with the view to our capital.

 

I am psyched (does that word date me?) to have found this as a gift for my step-mother-in-law.

A lady who has everything and needs nothing.

What started as concern,

“what could we possibly get her?”

has ended in confidence that she will love this.

 

I mean we haven’t given it to her yet, but still…

I just know it is going to be loved.

 

I consider myself to be a shopper.

A professional when it comes to Black Friday,

Standing in line to wait for a big deal,

and shopping for gifts.

This does not mean that I am always perfect at it and that I don’t have a problem finding that perfect something 

for the hard-to-shop-for people in my life,

but it does equate to hours, if necessary, devoted to the art of it all.

 

I can be a perfectionist,

questioning my gut,

feeling overwhelmed by my choices or lack of,

nearing tears as I sort through my cart.

That decision,

the one that ends in parting with that all too precious money,

can seem as if I am in a game show.

The spot light brightly glowing on my face as I make my decision,

the timer running down and music playing anxiously in the background,

the host and audience waiting for the final bell to ring and for my all too important pick to be made.

Is this the perfect gift?

 

I have to go through those emotions though to get to the part where I connect with the right present.

 

Honestly,

my mom has taught me the gift of thoughtfulness.

To listen and ask questions and get to the heart of who someone really is.

Once this is done,

you forever have an image that reflects not necessarily what someone says they want,

but the inner sanctum of their very being.

 

I start out with a panic.

Oh my gosh,

I forgot so-and-so’s birthday and have to find that gift that says ,

“I am thinking of you and not just anyone, but YOU.”

There is pressure,

I have given a lot of good gifts in my life 

and probably a lot of not so great ones.

 

So I have to stop and get in the mood

by remembering what I know

not only about that person but in general.

 

I have learned through experience that if you can give personally by making a craft or food item 

it must be to someone who really does appreciate that.

Do they have that around their house?

Even if it is thoughtfully given because your literal blood, sweat and tears went into it,

if a person doesn’t like knitted hats and has never worn one they may not appreciate the effort and time and love.

Normally I don’t have to worry about this as I am not much of a “crafty” person.

 

You can often see what someone wants in what they give to others.

Do they often give you books or movies or candles?

Those are probably their interests.

 

Do they love to spend time with you?

Sometimes a person really wants to just go to lunch or for a coffee together or 

to have a game night or gab session.

Truly my sister is someone that would rather have you give the gift of time,

preferably an activity like ice skating or bowling or a fun dance class.

 

What do they converse about?

It is so sweet when you speak to a family member or friend or stranger and suddenly their eyes light up and they can’t stop talking.

Everyone has interests.

Everyone.

 

It’s about finding what makes someone want to get up in the morning.

Coffee?

   Is there a local coffee shop that has special coffee beans or scones?

Numbers and science and geeky things? (Nothing wrong with that.)

      There is a great series called “Brain Games” (Nat Geo channel) that you can find on DVD.

Books and language and poems and writing?

        What about a writing workshop magazine or new pens and paper?

Technology or religion or soap or cleaning or games or music or photography or sports?

 

I ultimately go through a process.

Here it is:

1.  Panic.   Uh-oh.  What do I get?  It has to be perfect.  

2.  Where do I go?  O.k.  my favorite shops (mostly local), which I love more than large chain retailers,

are going to be number one on my list.

3.   Go to the shops and start thinking of that person.  Truly who is she/he?  Likes and dislikes.

Love language and what they give to me.  Have they mentioned anything recently or have we done something together that was special.

Example:  when we went to a play with friends, we picked up an ornament from the venue while they weren’t with us.

(I love this part and spend a lot of time just concentrating on all of the beautiful aspects of this person.)

4.  What do I NOT want to get.  This is huge in eliminating shops and aisles.  Things they already have.

Things they dislike or don’t have any interest in.

5.  Go through the store I am in-   slowly.  

Praying that God lead my decision, I often look at an item for a while.

Actually I don’t see people around me or pay much attention to others because of my focus,

which is why I may ignore someone calling my name until they are in my face. (Sorry.)

6.  I put something in my basket/cart/hands and just keep looking.

All the while trying to connect with what they will do when they open the gift.

Does this sing to my heart?  (As cheesy as that sounds, it has to really get me excited to give this gift to a particular person.)

7.  Just get it.  Make the purchase and leave the store.

(This may take me a while and it may mean texting/calling others to get their opinion, but ultimately my heart does know.)

8.  Wrap it up and anxiously await the moment it is opened.

9.  Now sometimes on the rare occasion,

I may find something else and have to return the first item but most often I am happiest with the very first thing that spoke to me.

So, just keep your heart open.  

 

Now I will say that most of the time

if I go through the process slowly,

the person I am giving a gift to is surprised  and happy and says the fated words that my ears long to hear,

“You always know just what to get me!”

 

The secret is knowing who you are shopping for and there are people closest to me that are harder to shop for than others,

(Why is my husband harder to shop for than a stranger?)

but at the end of the day,

I must say that I can shop.

A self-proclaimed professional.

And you can be too!

Get out there, go on,

you can do it.

 

 

 

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A Glimpse (With Photos) part one

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Since my last post in 2013,
I thought I would do a brief summary of the rest of my year.
A glimpse, with photos.
I couldn’t really remember what I did until I looked back through my pictures.
It was a good year!

The first picture being of
Our new niece.
Olivia was welcomed into the world in September and has a closet any baby would be proud of.
Shoes, dresses, onesies and
Let’s not forget about the hair pieces!!
What more could a girl want?
Oh, right…
Her family loves her dearly.
She is an adorable addition to her brother who is into her almost as much as he is to cars.

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(Julia and the oh so grateful Cooper)

Another big deal of 2013
Is that my twin & her family are here from Australia for two years!!

We are so excited that my brother-in-law was able to work from home while still employed at the Sydney Morning Herald.

The family has a house, the kids are in school and they are settling in to American life-
I must say they chose the whitest winter to be here.
Which is a great thing for the kids,
Who have never had the pleasure of getting up early to find out you have a snow day.
And who have missed almost a week so far this year!
(That’s right. They have been bombarded with winter!)

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Capital City Cork & Provisions

I have had some great time with my friends.
Driving with the top down, going to movies, drinking wine, playing games, listening to a book on cd, dancing, singing off key, talking & solving the worlds problems.
All of which have been accompanied by tasty treats.

Also,
We took a family trip to Georgia & South Carolina for my brothers wedding.

My family is large.
Wonderfully big.
Seven of us kids,
Spouses and their kids,
Plus our uncle
(In total there were 20 in the house).
And you have a rental house full to bursting.

I found the time glorious,
And as with everything fun,
Too quick.
Gorgeous weather.
A very delicious key lime pie.
A shopping adventure in search of (& successful in) a dress for my niece.
Playing in the pool & hot tub.
Walking at sunrise on the beach with my hubby.
Celebrating my uncles birthday.
Lots of fishing stories.
Jellyfish stings & the antidote –
Sit at the edge of the water and scrub sand roughly over the stings and then wash it off in the water.
(Leave it to my sis, the Australian, to have the answer. )
Watching the dolphins leap in and out as they moved across the expansive sea.
Eating, eating & more eating.
Wedding vows.
Dancing the night away- some of which has been captured and hopefully not used against anyone.
Laughter, hugs, yelling, more hugs, food.
Did I mention food?
Exploration of a lighthouse ,
Which actually took less time than eating our lunch.
Shopping for local art.
Praying.
Packing up.
Leaving things behind.
Promising to do it all again.

Here’s a look:

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The year continued as will this post.
Tomorrow.

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Writing With Nora

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(Nora Ephron)

 

Dear Friends

How should I begin a new post when I have neglected the blogging world for quite some time?

What can I say other than,

I was uninspired.

Maybe it was the fact that I was too busy living in the present.

(Does that sound cliche enough?)

Giving all I had to family and friends.

Well…could I say that?

All I had?

 

Maybe I was burnt out.

Too many expectations for myself on what I had to say.

I have never considered my posts “genius” or “unique” or “gutsy” or “exciting.”

They were me and what I had to offer.

Plain and simply put,

me in words.

 

This is my un-apology.

I can’t say “sorry” for not writing when in fact 

I am not.

And yet,

I missed the community of support that comes with blogging.

The feeling that what I have to say may matter to someone.

The understanding that we all can express ourselves honestly and openly and without guilt or punishment.

My selfish hope is that someone out there will respond and will “like” what I have to say.

That maybe the community is not as harsh as my own judgment.

Why is pushing that “publish post” button the hardest thing I have done all day?

 

You see I have been inspired once more by a book.

“The Most of Nora Ephron.”

An anthology of her works.

 

(The last time it was by “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.

Which moved me so much, I thought I could come close to writing one thousand things I was thankful for

last year-

never make a New Year’s Resolution.  

A noble and unsuccessful attempt was made.)

 

Now, I am reaching into my inner writer.

You know the one,

the one that says, “there is brilliance, a story, a few great words, inspiration, a novel all locked away in my brain.”

I just need to release it through my fingertips.

 

Nora has done that to me.

I feel as if I am writing with Nora.

She passed away last year and I was so sad.

I love her works on screen, 

“When Harry Met Sally”  

“You’ve Got Mail”

“Sleepless In Seattle”

“Julie & Julia.”

 

She was,

and is,

the author I would most want to emulate.

This book connected me with some of her other equally well-written works,

but most importantly it helped me to understand her better.

I felt like I needed to know this woman who seemed to understand the world as I would like to see it.

Full of optimism and hope and love and happy endings.

And as a now known addition to that list,

 full of revisions.

 

What I have found is that:

1.  she is someone I would have loved to share coffee and conversation with,

2.  she and I don’t agree on everything, but we would find “our” thing and talk without reservation on it,

(probably about food)

3.  she and I share a love of food and the idea that dinner parties should be long lasting and carefree,

(in other words, plan your meal so that you can enjoy your company),

she included recipes in her books and was fascinated with the whole world of food,

4.  she was in favor of re-writing and re-writing again.  

This she felt was not only true in her books, but in life.

She said it best, “Revise now, before it’s too late.”

5.  she was very political.  She definitely had her platforms and she could have ran for office with quite a huge following,

6.  she wrote with honesty and always from what she knew.  She was in her fiction.

Sally was based on herself (in “When Harry Met Sally),

and she wrote other fiction that only needed a few name changes to make it fact,

and finally

7.  what a shame that I didn’t get the opportunity to meet her!

 I know I would have liked her for being the kind of person that wants to make the world a better place, 

one good dinner party at a time!

 

An odd thing happened while I was savoring every single page and word,

during one of my breaks I was thinking of how much I learned about Nora.

I thought, “but I don’t know what she did on Sunday mornings.”

And do you know that the very next article I read was about what she did on Sunday mornings?

(In case you just need to know, watch the morning talk shows and make breakfast.)

It was just the sort of thing that she would appreciate.

The little nothings that happen and mean absolutely nil to anyone but you.

 

Write it down, she would say.

Can I guarantee that I will post something every day?

No.

Lesson learned, I will not make any kind of blogging new year resolutions.

 

I will say this,

Thank you, Nora for living up to what I would expect and more.

Now I know that while in life

you had your fair share of drama,

you had works that took ages to perfect,

there were a lot of revisions,

 but there were also a lot of happy endings.

Most of which revolved around food.

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Traveling Thanks

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So I am on a sort of road trip with my gal pal, Tina.
We are on our way to join a mission that is helping in Moore, Oklahoma.
(If you don’t know,
There was a devastating tornado that ripped through the city months ago.)

Tina has done wonders with asking co-workers for donations to bring with us,
(Backpacks, Wal-Mart gift cards, food…)
She is amazing!

I am just doing whatever they ask for,
Truly not near as much work as the people volunteering for longer periods of time.
We will be there just a few days,
But I feel good that I can give some
(Even limited time).
That doesn’t make me a good person,
It’s what I should do.

So…recently I have not been blogging as much as I was and I apologize and will try to do better.

I realize at this point that I probably won’t make the thousand thanks goal,
But I am not stopping…
So here are my more recent thanks-

241. Summertime, 4th of July, Freedom, BBQ- need I say more?!

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242. Beautiful flowers- only God could keep these alive.

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243. My car- which while I am away is probably being used by my hubby !
(No worries, babe. :). )

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244. Menu planning- which since doing has really helped us on our fitness journey!

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245. Going out with friends! I have such great support and love in my life!

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246. Another great year & more to come!!

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247. Our babies ! Poor Coop has torn his ACL & recovering from surgery & poor Coogee is needing attention!

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248.Traveling with my hubby who is such a blast to go anywhere with!!

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249.. For safe arrivals on long journeys.

250.. For my phone which not only had much needed GPS but a camera to capture whatever catches my eye!

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It’s My Birthday!!

ImageIt’s our birthday!

My twin and I are celebrating our day today- from across the globe.

Really she was able to party before me,

since she is in Australia.

It’s never the same for me when we aren’t together.

I always have a moment of sadness on these years.

It just always feels a little off.

Partly, I don’t like the attention all on me since we grew up sharing the spotlight.

Still, we facetime and do our best to share in the day together.

And I have amazing family and friends who are so good about texting and calling 

and showing me they love me!

Brian always making sure he gets me something special and expressing his love- though I must say he is good about that anyway.

(I am a little spoiled.)

 

Birthdays have always been special for us-

our mom made sure of it,

with streamers and signs and cakes and presents.

Each year remembered with pizazz!

I am very thankful for that kind of upbringing.

 

Today I am so thankful for all of you in my life!

I am blessed with an over abundance of love!

Baskets full to the brim!

What more could I possibly want??!!

 

Lessons from the past year,

I hope have brought me closer to God’s truth and to the real reason I am here.

This year I hope to learn even more,

thank God for those lessons that may be hard but teach me to give and love in an 

unselfish and daring way!

Each day I am grateful for any good that I can show others,

 though it’s truly just because I am the vessel God has chosen to use.

I am not perfect and have many cracks and flaws 

but when putting God in first,

I can carry the weight of all things impossible.

 

So please raise your glasses with me as I toast first my twin and 

giggle partner, as she holds all the things I would like to be, 

she was the first friend I ever had and we share a connection that can’t be torn apart by miles and oceans.

And then I toast a thanks to Brian and my family and friends,

who allow me to be who I am 

and love me all the same!

How special you make me feel!

 

And to all of you who don’t know me so well,

thank you for reading and following and being a part of my life.

You are in my prayers always!

 

Well….my goodness I must say above all

praise God.

God is good…all the time!

He is the greatest artist I could ever know and love beyond love.

Until next time…cheers my friends!

 

 

 

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Summer’s Wake

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Summer has arrived,

by means of freshly crisp watermelon,

a bouquet of lilac hitting my nose on the path to 5k,

brilliant fireflies in the distant woods upon twilight,

charcoal fires in the bar-be-que slowly graying

followed by the sizzle of raw meat on the hot and waiting grate,

greetings of family and friends as drinks are poured and conversations begin,

roaring engines as highway miles accumulate and home seems but a resting place,

coolness against sweating skin as I splash into the bluest pool water already full of children playing,

brilliant colors shooting up in the sky as fireworks give way to the dark night,

phone at the ready to get one more picture to capture each moment lived to the fullest,

tanned skin next to the blank canvas not privy to the sun,

flip flops in every color and style letting toes mingle in the light,

coconut hinted sun screen, fragrant blooms, freshly mowed grass, bbq chicken, sweet fruit ripe for eating, chlorinated pool water (perhaps my favorite summer smell),

a great summer read feeling deliciously heavy in hands,

anticipation growing,

birthday coming…what will this next year bring?

In the summer’s wake,

a symphony of sounds, an array of sights, and melange of tastes and smells.

In summer’s wake,

I am left peaceful, spent and ready for more.

 

 

 

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5K Plus Thanks Included

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I realize I was supposed to post over a week ago, 

but life got busy…

so here we are.

216.  Yolanda and I completed our 5k plus and had a blast!

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It was a humid, but still pretty morning.

We hung some balloons and signs along the route for guidance and encouragement and prepared for the 4 mile walk.

We had with us:

Precious, (Yo’s daughter)

Andrew, (my brother) and 

my mom.

Yep.  That was all but it was great!

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Along the walk,

we encounter an older gentleman with his dog, Tess.

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217.  How sweet to see the excitement in his eyes,  people to converse with. 

They have to go on walks because they recently got a new puppy that is too active for poor Tess.

They enjoy these little walks.

We also ran into a lady on a bike.

She seemed a bit perturbed by something,

could it be us?

218.  I learned that not everyone needs to be happy back to me,

I am grateful for her response to teach me to really see others.

She looked frustrated at the balloons that we were carrying back with us.

She did not say “hello” in response to our greeting and passed us hurriedly.

We then were passed by two ladies,

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219.  Their positive light as we spoke briefly about what we were doing,

was a joy!

It was fun to see other friends enjoying their walk.

And then the seemingly angry lady came back by us again,

this time even more annoyed by the balloons.

As she passed, I turned to Yolanda and two balloons got caught on a tree

 and loudly popped.

It sounded like a gun going off.

At that moment we saw the lady on the bike almost fall over!

What a walk!

We still had about 10 balloons left,

and then I caught a glimpse.

A little girl who was pointing at the balloons and smiling.

I ran up the hill and asked if she wanted them.

The father laughed and said “That would be nice! Thanks!”

220.  What pleasure to give a child something that will bring such joy!

As we approached the finish mark,

accomplishment was in the air.

Were we the fastest we had ever been?

No.

But I still felt like it was a successful walk.

221.  At the end of the journey, we wrote what was holding us back from our health goals on the remaining balloons and released these weights into the atmosphere.

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And on we move towards new goals or revisited old ones.

And next year,

who knows where we will be when we take on another 5k plus.

After the walk,

I went to visit my sister and brother-in-law in St. Louis where we enjoyed a key lime pie martini at Sub Zero in Central West End.

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222. We stayed up too late, as per usual, catching up and discussing future plans.

Even though sleep was lost,

I wouldn’t take a second back.

The next day was a family reunion.

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223.  I love people with a good sense of humor!

My cousin’s son is pretending to eat this hamburger cake

(my sis and I found it at Wal-Mart; so cute!)

which was probably a bigger hit than me being at the party.

Rain couldn’t keep us down!

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My sister giving my cousin an “underdog” on the giant swing.

(An underdog is when you push someone as high as you can on a swing and then run under them.)

So she didn’t actually push him high enough,

but had fun trying.

224.  Family is family.  Bad, good, blessings, prayers, laughter, tears, anger, hurt, forgiveness and healing.  I thank God for my whole and quite big family!  They have helped shape who I am.

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225.  On the drive home, I was able to witness some amazing cloud formations,

all the while not having to drive in any rain.

Wednesday, 

I attended another art class only to be disappointed at my performance.

226.  But I learned that I need to not give up, fight through the pain and also that what I am feeling  greatly reflects in my work.

Here is a look at this class:

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This was the artists work.  What I would strive to achieve.

Impressionistic is not my forte I guess.

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I found that part of my problem was I didn’t like the choice of landscape colors.

Another problem was that she didn’t allow us to draw with a pencil but we were to be “free.”

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Still feeling o.k. about how I was doing and yet a long way from the end.

I didn’t see the storm approaching.

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This is when it hit!

I moved some trees and messed up where I was going with the painting.

I started getting angry and the Kenny G in the background did not help!

I stopped taking pictures, 

left the room for a breather and had to force myself to keep going.

My instinct was to pick up the canvas and chuck it out the window!

I was there til 10:00 (long after the others left) and with credit to our teacher who patiently wanted to help me make the painting “mine.”

Here is the finished product.

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I am moving forward,

past this disaster.

The next day I headed back to St. Louis.

227.  I was able to spend some time with Brian’s sister and family.

We spent time talking and eating

and some fantastic time floating in their pool.

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Plus a trip to Trader Joe’s,

to pick up a yummy treat (228) !

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If you have never tried these dark chocolate covered almonds,

you should.

229.  We had a great time with Brian’s choir group on Saturday night.

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We had the outside all set up for our dinner party when the radar showed some good sized storms coming right for us.

So…we packed it all up and brought the party inside.

We had tons of food and lots to drink,

but best of all great company.

230.  Finally, we celebrated Father’s Day with my dad on Sunday morning.

Mom had made this fantastically rich chocolate and cheesecake layered dessert!

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Needless to say,

I have had some full weeks and not to slow down,

two more trips to St. Louis this week.

My blessings abound!

 

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