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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Heart On Fire

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Sometimes,
On the rare occasion,
Someone
has the ability to set my heart on fire.

Have you felt it?

The deep passion
To move
To speak
To sing
To dance
To stir the flames.

I can’t sit still.
I must spread love.

What started as an ember,
A twinkling,
A spark, really…

Became a white hot
Blaze
Spreading wild bursts through
My spirit.

When someone,
Anyone
speaks the truth,
My heart responds.

“Yes!”
“Amen!”
“Let’s go!”
“Who can I share the good news with?”
“Is it me or is the sun brighter?”

I float through the glory filled day.

Praising God
With conversations
And simple acts of kindness.

A smile
An opened door
A helping hand
A loving word
An invitation
A simple gesture to show
“You are cared for.”

Rapidly spreading,
The fire
Engulfs all it reaches.

Don’t let the flames dull.

Stoke.
Stoke.

Converse.
Encounter.
Extend the hands.

One person.
One match.
One ember.
Can burn through to the soul.
Can soon become one army.
Battling.

The fire stoked.
The flame explodes.

Next Time
Maybe
God willing
I will be the one to start the fire in someone else.

6 Comments »

A Final Glimpse part 3

2013.
The last of the year.
Forever.

Why not enjoy the last few months with family?

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Bekki, Annie & I visited the St. Louis Science Center & spotted a large dinosaur.
Nothing Annie couldn’t handle!

However house hunting brought out her silly (yet still adorable) side.

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A visit to my bro and sis-in-law meant having my favorite pizza!!!
Spin Pizza!

Absolutely the best service,
Family friendly atmosphere &
This chewy yet crisp crust,
The perfect blend of sweet yet flavorful, and the toppings are the perfect amount of yumminess.

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Evan loved having Annie to play with
And Olivia loved spending time with her aunts,
But Coogee & Cooper had the best time getting love from everyone!

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Before I knew it Thanksgiving was here!
Which meant the following :
The Macy Thanksgiving Day Parade,
Preparing a side dish (creamy mashed potatoes) to accompany mom’s humongous turkey & fabulous stuffing & dads homemade soft and tasty rolls, Bekki’s pumpkin pie & this year a cherry meringue pie (a surprisingly hit!) & Melissa’s crisp salad,
A prayer where everyone shares what they are thankful for,
And of course
The strategizing, mapping & planning of Black Friday (or this year Thursday) shopping.

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And then…
Out of the blue…
My shopping senses were tingling.
Now!
We must go now!
There was a great deal on a tv that was a must for my sis & bro-in-law!

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So it was a crazy 16 hours of lines and lists and phone calls and terrible coffee and more lists and ads
But most importantly great deals!
My sis and I had a 4 hour nap and then went at it again for another 4 hours.
We accomplished a lot and felt a little tired but mostly satisfied.

The weekend festivities ended with a movie night
watching “Frozen” with all of the other families that also thought it was a great way to end Thanksgiving.

I have to say
The movie was fantastic!
Hilarious and sweet with great songs and of course a happy ending.

In December I had minor surgery.
Which is a story for another day.
Briefly said-
All is well.
I have a great doctor, fantastically supportive family, an amazing husband who took care of me and I feel great.

Then came the most special night-
Christmas Eve.

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My husband sings in our church choir,
This year they were scheduled for midnight.
It was glorious,
As I always feel,
The angels joined in and the stars were out and the air was crisp.
The glory of The Lord was upon us and the meaning of Christmas hung brighter than the moon.

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Our family celebrated in the usual fashion ,
With sweets and treats and lots of good eats.
Plus a room loaded with presents.

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We made time for playing around,
And Let’s face it,
The kids needed to work off some candy.

I had my best game ever bowled!
A 158 with a turkey (three strikes in a row) and then I bowled the usual not so great game.

And then it was over and everyone headed back home.
The Christmas blues hit hard –
And as can happen with a large family – so did the sickness.

And so while it was the end of 2013,
It’s the beginning of a new year.
Full of opportunities and possibilities and chances to love and laugh and share.
And most importantly to give back to those who mean the most to us and to those we have yet to bring into our lives.
Happy 2014!

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2 Comments »

Another Glimpse part 2

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Fall came soon after our return from my brothers wedding.

I welcomed fall with open arms and a top that was hardly ever up.
My car, my new baby, my bug,
gladly whizzing people to and fro.
I was just along for the ride.

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We had received the best gift from my parents,
A brilliant orange leaf maple.
Still young,
It didn’t have as many leaves as it’s neighboring oaks,
And yet those few stood out in all their October Glory.

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The Cardinals were in the World Series.
Ah the Cards.
We went to the best game of the whole series.
Game 3 where we won from an obstruction call.
Crazy fun.
And then they lost.
I still love ya, Cards!

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One of my favorite holidays is Halloween.
Weird. I know.
But I love the imagination and free candy and kids doing what they do best- imitating and pretending and enjoying life.
We have a part every year.
We go all out.
I enlist my friend and her kids to help decorate and set up and transform our house.

Our annual party had all the makings of a great night…
A theme- A Night At The Movies,
Costumes,
Games (name that movie, movie charades…),
And of course a piñata!
We had so much fun with family and friends cramming into each living space.
It was so much fun that it took me two days to clean up.

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And then there was Pink!
Where do I begin?
My sisters and Kevin (bro-in-law) and I went to the “Truth about Love” Pink tour.
It was fabulous!
In my “top concerts of all time” category.
Her songs had us dancing and singing along the whole time.
We did not sit.
This was Pink!!
And she rocked.

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I know you are thinking,
“Surely that’s it. ”
But my year is not over yet!
To be continued …

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Moore Hope

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Moore, Oklahoma

On May 20, 2013 an EF5 tornado
(The largest category there is in strength of a tornado)
Ripped through Moore, Oklahoma.

An elementary school directly in its path was no exception to the destruction.
6 children and 1 teacher- victim to the violent storm.
A total of 23 fatalities and injuring around 377 others,
Moore was again faced with loss.

In 1999 there was an even deadlier tornado that had struck the area.
This was a reminder of how quickly life can shift and move us from the security of day-to-day monotony
to appreciating just having our love ones near us.

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This is Moore before the tornado-
The neighborhood around the school and the school itself.

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The area after likened to a bomb going off.

When my friend asked if I would like to join a mission going to help Moore in July,
I said “yes” with no hesitation.

By the time we arrived most of the clean up was complete and they were starting the rebuilding process.

Volunteers and churches and organizations joining together rapidly to meet the needs of a desperate community.

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Homes, schools and businesses all looking at the blank slate that once held dreams and hopes and love and memories and valuable possessions.

Now…it held rubble and shattered lives.

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And yet-
The stories told today are about hope!

There are families who are eager to come to share with volunteers and the community these valuable lessons and messages.

An amazing organization gathers these
Survivors and families of victims
To spread word of the good that has come and the everlasting hope only they can effectively pass on.

Hope Raisers

They come out in the evening to give love to the same people who
Come from all over the states
To donate time and money and a shoulder …
But the thing is,
The volunteers and missionaries
Are the ones receiving hope.
From people who have lost children and homes.

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That organization is one of the most profound I have been privy to.

Then there is the heartbeat of all the volunteer effort,
Serve Moore.

This is a group of churches in the community that joined together to organize all of the volunteer efforts and donations.

A major undertaking,
I feel this was key to making sure the clean up and re-building is most productive.

Moore is in need still of volunteers when it comes to rebuilding.
This will be a major effort because of the fact that so much has been destroyed.

I was most touched by the people who are able to take the time to really get their hands dirty and don’t ask anything other than “where do you want me?”

There is so much to be learned from these disasters.
First and foremost is the fact that
the “stuff” in our lives is just that –
“Stuff.”

When it comes down to it,
you would want to know your loved ones are safe.

Love is the most important part of life
And the thing we most often take for granted.

Moore is just one area of our world that needs our help,
This was eye opening in how long it really does take to get back to “normal.”

So if you have time to help somewhere
(Anywhere) that has been touched by
Destruction,
I encourage you to look into the needs of that community.

If there was a voice to speak on behalf of Moore,
I believe it would say

“Don’t define me by this tornado.
Look at our community coming together as an example.
We will re-build and keep moving forward.
We will mourn our losses
but we will also look at their lives as shining beacons- no matter how short.
There is a message here-
It’s one of hope and love and
Strength in coming together for support and that shoulder when needed.
But ultimately in giving our gifts away to help someone else in need-
Even when we are in need ourselves.”

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11 Comments »

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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2 Comments »

Sweet Nothing’s

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201. I am so excited to see my poppies!
Bright and crinkled petals bend towards the suns light.
The colors seem almost painted on as they are a shade not often seen in nature.
They were lovely before the rain crept in and they lowered towards the earth.
Perhaps just until the sun comes back to perk them up.

202. For the daycare workers and teachers in Oklahoma who put their lives at risk for the children’s sake.
Any parent that may wonder if your child’s teacher would do the same,
Trust me when I say they would.
These men and women choose to daily do a difficult but rewarding task.
And when they go through education and training,
it may not occur to them that they may be put in such situations where they may be able to physically save a child.
But they do and would and will.
Thank God for them.

203. For the big hearts of people who adopt pets!

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Zoey was in need of a new home or she was going to be brought to the shelter.
I couldn’t see that happen.
Brian and I didn’t think we could handle 3, mainly because we didn’t want to disrupt our pack that is a pretty smooth machine most days.

So my brother’s mother-in-law adopted her. Dyanne & Gary have great big hearts and rescue often with the intent to find homes but end up falling in love.
Thus, they have a large and beautiful pack!

Zoey is doing well and playing a lot with her new brothers and sisters.

Brian and I love Zoey and were actually heart broken to give her away.
The dogs got along with her but Cooper seemed a bit upset that she was taking his cuddle spots.
We just didn’t want to risk his behavior changing back to when we first rescued him.

Still…she is this fantastic dog and now in a great home!

If you have any doubt about adopting ,
I have seen that most dogs are so ready to love and be loved!

Check out your local shelter,
You could find your own perfect pet!

204. For each new beginning.
I have been struggling with food issues and working out.
I do so well and then slide back into bad habits.
But today I have chosen health.

205. For finding reasons to work out.
Saturday I walked a little over 4 miles in just over 56 minutes.
I was working hard the whole time!
I kept thinking,
“I have to beat my last time of 58 minutes.”
Clouds hung low as I began, but I was determined.
As I made my way closer to the 3 mile mark, the thunder exploded.
I prayed that it not pour down til I got back and more importantly that I not get struck by lightening!
I made it with just a few drops having made their way to my head.

Today I chose my favorite Yoga Booty Ballet routine.

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It was a great beginning to my day!

206. For funny stories that God knows I get a kick out of.
Friday evening, I look out the window and see a deer along the fence on the side of our yard.
A sight we see pretty regularly,
Yet I am always caught off guard.

I watch in amazement, as I always find them so graceful.
He was eating leaves from the trees all around him almost ferociously,
Which at the time I found kind of funny.

A few hours later I take the dogs out to do their business.
Normally the deer run immediately away.
Cooper and Coogee don’t have the best eyesight and it was getting just dark enough that they didn’t notice him.

Then a rabbit ran in front of Cooper and off he goes chasing it as it slides under the fence and near the deer.
I figured he would run for sure,
But no!
Cooper then spots this large animal and bravely approaches the fence where they smell each others noses.

I am standing in amazement!
No I didn’t grab my camera!
I know!!!

Then the deer head butts the fence and Cooper runs quickly off.
Coogee was watching and is now in mamma mode.
She runs up barking at the deer.
The deer then head butts the fence again and is trying to ram his way in!

I was kind of in
“What do I do? This has never happened before” thinking.

I go closer thinking at any moment he will bolt off.

No.
He makes some growling noises and is clearly not happy with me.
Not in the least is he making any attempt to leave.

I want Coogee to leave him alone and stop barking and honestly he was scaring me!

I thought at any moment he was going to easily leap over the fence (which was very possible) and come after us.
(Ok I know he is just a deer, but have you seen their muscular legs?!)

I bang the bar-be-cue lid and eventually he did turn and leap off into the darkness.
Coogee triumphantly ran back to me,
Proud of her work.

The next several times they went out,
Both were a bit timid.

He returned the next evening but was not so eager to stick around.

This is Coogee barking at the deer.

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207. For our riding lawn mower!
Is it strange that it’s one chore that I don’t hate?

208. For The Brick House Deli.

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I love their wraps !

209.For flip flop weather!
It’s here! Warm weather is back!
Break out the flip flops that go with everything!

210. For the sweetness of watermelon and strawberries and peaches!
Yum!
I love my summer fruits !

There is so much sweetness in those little moments and nothings.
Have you noticed?

4 Comments »

Grazie Mille

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172. A million thanks for bright and fragrant flowers!
I was eager to fill our flower beds this spring.
I could not wait, as they looked dry and devoid of life.
It wasn’t until last week that I heard that you should wait until after Mothers Day to plant.
Oops. Oh well, silly as it may seem I pray for our plants.

I just feel so inadequate as a gardener but I know in the end
I am just a caretaker of Gods beautiful gifts.

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173. For my goofy dogs.

Coogee keeps bringing toys outside & then leaves them.
This morning I picked this one up to bring back inside & she tackled it out of my hands.
She didn’t play with it,
But was basically saying “leave it there!”

They keep me laughing and give me so much love.

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174. For nice spring weather!
It’s been hit and miss but we have had a few days where we could enjoy our deck, and walk outside,
and mow the lawn,
And smile at the sun.

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175. For great food !

Beware some of these you may gain weight just from looking at!

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Brian’s vanilla bean cake
And a grape cream-tini

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Dixie Cream Donuts

I swear that I could win a donut eating contest.
I have a huge weakness for donuts.

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This was the best potato soup I have had.

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A St Louis treat, gooey butter cake with caramel sauce and cinnamon ice cream.

176. For views and scenery, that if we look are all sound us.

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177. For coffee with my friend, Paula.

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A cinnamon roll with orange glaze.

Paula and I talk a lot about faith and seem to always pass hours in what seems like minutes.

178. For my walk this morning.
I was able to reach today’s goal of 4 miles in under an hour.
(58 minutes.)

179. For the encouragement from my friends.

Yolanda and Staci are two of my greatest friends.
Always there with a smile and laugh.
Some days that is just what you need!

180. For my playlists of motivating songs.
These provide the soundtrack to my life and get me moving.

Where would I be without music?
On the couch?

181. For lotion that smells like sweetness.

182. For that really great Gellato commercial.

I love it!
The couple is fighting (in Italian) but reunite over Gellato.

In my heart, I am Italian so I find myself wanting to only hear the Italian and not read the subtitles.
I have to actually use the Totale Brian got for me so that I may converse so poetically in the loveliest language of all.

183. For shoe choices.

Isn’t it great to pick out a different pair of shoes depending on how you feel?

184. For vehicles to take us from one place to another.
We aren’t stuck in one spot, but are free to move and explore.

185. For the US, where we are really blessed to feel freedom over fear.

186. For prayers and the faith that they are heard and answered.

187. For Starbucks always coming up with new coffee treats!
They have a Carmel crunch frap that I will have to try.
A yummy summer fave, the mocha cookie crunch frap is back too.

Some days, need I tell you how much one of these is appreciated?

188. For being able to discuss “The Voice” & “American Idol” with Brian.

What can I say?!
I love to see new talent!

189. For showers, today especially !
After my walk this morning,
came work on the lawn.
Yes. A nice blend of sweat and fresh cut grass.
I smelled great.
So…a shower was gratifying.

190. For a girls get together with my sisters-in-law.
We are going to probably laugh a lot and catch up on life.
Finally, it feels like a long time coming.

fino alla prossima volta…
(Until next time- see it is better in Italian!)

1 Comment »

Your Official Invitation!

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Yolanda & I are hosting our 2nd annual “Fun Fit 5k Plus”

(Please read above for details.)

While it would be lovely for all of you to join us,
I realize that may be near impossible.

So…please feel free to have your own 5k or to challenge yourself on June 8th to get together with a friend or family or both!

It could be shopping (this could justify a new pair of killer shoes while walking around),
Playing a sport,
Walking the dog,
Cleaning the house….

It could be a 5k or 10k or even 1 mile.

Whatever you chose to do,
I ask that it is something you enjoy,
Preferably with a friend.

Getting fit can be fun.
We don’t have to dread work outs.
Yolanda and I want to encourage you to involve those around you with a good attitude and big smile.

On June 8th,
I will post photos & info about our 5k.

In the comment section please add a link to your post with photos & details of your event/activity.
We will be making homemade t-shirts & encourage you to do the same.

This isn’t about the 5k itself,
But about having fun while doing something active.
We want to accomplish our 4 miles ideally in 1 hour, so our goal is set & now it’s about training.

What’s your goal?

We use “Map My Walk” (free app) to track our time, route and distance.
I recommend you try some way of recording your training which will lead up to you meeting your own fitness goals.

We will be spreading the word & hope you will do the same!

You can do it!
Become the person you want to be.
The first step is action.
What’s stopping you?

I will continue to post triumphs & trials along the way.

We can do it!!

“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.”
(Philippians 4:13)

4 Comments »

Lifting Up Tears

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This is me on t.v.
I am in the red coat with both hands in the air.
Funny, isn’t it ?

We ( as in the St Louis Cardinals- yes I consider myself a Cardinal),
Had just won the game.

Next on the screen,
I could see Brian and I giving each other high fives.
So adorable.

This was Friday night.
A very cold game.
Our first of the season.
Even with the cold,
We enjoyed our time together.

An ordinary Cardinals home game complete with a visit to Joe Bucks.

Today I wonder,
What would happen if this ordinary event had turned ugly,
Like the Boston Marathon?

What if something that seemed as normal as breathing,
suddenly was shattered by blasts and smoke and screams and sadness?

How much I pray for all of those devastated by loss of life, limb and innocence.

How much I know “ordinary” has been erupted into questions and silence and bewildered thoughts for many.

I thank God for those volunteers and heroes who quickly jumped up to help.
Disregarding their own safety for that of others.

A true vision of selfless love of neighbor.
A beacon of light.
An opening in the clouds.

Today we attended a prayer service.
It was for a woman who passed away from cancer.
She played the piano and sang at our wedding.
She was in the choir with my husband.

She radiated joy!
I knew when she was the one playing in the loft,
Hidden from view.
The music was full of her brightness.

We have a picture of her on our wedding day,
Smile spreading across her face.
Doing what seemed to be her favorite thing,
Playing and singing.

She was love.

I didn’t know her to the extent of her family and friends,
But I knew she was light.

Today her daughter sang
“Amazing Grace” in a clear,
Strong and beautiful voice.

It brought me to tears.
Honestly I wanted to weep.

I am a Christian
And ferociously believe that she is in Heaven.
So why cry?

Is it the shadows of those of whom
we have lost to cancer?
Is it the gift she was that I will miss?
Is it the overwhelming grief that seems to cling to the air?

I have a hard time with visitations and don’t like looking at the empty shell that once housed the soul that is no longer there.
It could be my own difficulties with seeing others grieve or the sadness of good-byes.
I always feel most helpless at that moment.

Maybe God has sent me to share in their pain, if that makes sense.
Maybe I can lift even a little sadness from them so they may feel lighter.

I try to connect with what the Spirit is moving me towards,
This person needs comfort through a hug,
This one through words of peace,
This one through shared tears and silence.

I pray I am always led towards whatever action will help the grieving most.

Today it was prayers.

All of those wise words and quotes don’t always seem appropriate to me.
You know,
The ones people say because they want to help?
The ones I am sure I have uttered when I knew nothing else to say.

(“At least she is no longer suffering.”)
While maybe true,
Some words may not actually help at funerals and visitations.

In times of sadness,
I most often feel those fall short of any actual comfort.

So maybe just maybe when I offer up my tears as prayers,
They arrive as a peaceful breath to the one who needs it most.
A sigh full of warmth.

I do know
our dear light, Susan,
Is no longer in need of my tears.
My thoughts on Heaven are numerous
But I am sure she is at peace and
Her soul is full of the warmth of love.
And I think she must be enjoying the heavenly choir right now.
Maybe playing songs beyond our comprehension or
Maybe just basking in the glorious songs of angels.

For all today who don’t know what to say or do or know how to help,
Yet you feel sadness,
Lift it up.

I don’t believe your tears end up on the floor or your shirt or end in vain.

I believe they take the shape of your love.
Deeply felt by the ones who need it most.

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