Sunday, February 28, 2010

Come on, get up.

I have to say so many of you are up and running now, and I am so excited!

I am inviting you all to the St. Patricks Day run, in your town or here in St. Louis. Ours is a 5 mile run, and makes for a great start to the day!

I have thought, for the past 8 years, that next year I'll do that run. And guess what? I'm doing it this year! And I am excited to do it.. can't wait. It's been 9 years since I ran this run, and it still ranks as one of my favorite memories.

If you are now thinking, well, I should have started earlier.. should have kept it up... Well, start tonight. Start in the morning, walk it, run it, get started. It's nearly March!

In happiness,

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Half of me

My journey is hitting a wall today, but I will beat it down. I am physically and emotionally drained.

I just wake up somedays wondering where the strength will come from today. And it always appears, from somewhere. Not today. Today it took everything I had to get through it. This whole week has been that way. But I have suddenly realized the problem.

I pull a lot of strength from my husband. He is my biggest fan; he empowers me. If he says I can do it, I believe I can. And when I don't have him in my corner, or at least time with him to tell him I'm in his and remind me he's in mine, I don't have half the strength I need. I am better when I am complete. And with him, I am.

So tonight I am enlightened to spend some time where I should be..  my running gear will lie beside my bed, ready for me in the morning, to return to my journey, full strength.

In love,

Friday, February 26, 2010

Stronger than most,,

Physically, I am stronger than most.
Yes, most.
My legs are solid muscle, with strength beyond measure.
I could kick a ball from one goal into the other. I can run for miles and miles.
My arms are defined, with broad shoulders carrying the load.
I could carry three times the weight of those around me. I can work for hours and hours.
My mind is sharp and powerful.
I could remember a random face from childhood. I can manage task upon task.

Emotionally, I am stronger than most.
Yes, most.
My soul is deep and rich, with strength beyond measure.
I could empathize and absorb the emotions surrounding me. I can contemplate for miles and miles.
My sadness is acknowledged.
I could cry into my pillow until the world slept. I can remember for hours and hours.
My happiness is infinite.
I could laugh until my breathe escapes me. I can smile enjoying task upon task.

I am stronger than most.
Yes, most.
My running miles give me hours to understand my tasks.
My running miles give me strength.
My running miles give me, me.

In warmth,

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The 12th

And I love birthdays... Jackson celebrated his 12th today and we enjoyed a great dinner with about 30 of our closest relatives. At one table. At my shop... Life is good today. Some days don't need a good run for perspective. Somedays just bring the good to you.

In happiness,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Everything he will become...

Twelve years ago, this night, I lied terrified in a hospital bed. I was in full labor, awaiting the arrival of my baby boy. I had no concept as to the change my life would take in this moment. I loved my child as he grew inside me, but nothing prepares you for the life altering moment when your baby is placed in your arms. Everything changes. It may sound cheesy or cliche, but it is true. Love isn't real until this moment. Faith, joy, hope, fear, none of these bear weight until that instant.

I still live in that heightened reality, where everything matters more. My baby boy is now past my shoulder, although he still sits on my lap in the evenings, even if just for a moment to say goodnight. And this evening I cannot help but feel a little reflective...

My baby cried in my arms at night for the first year. I rocked him to sleep and sang him lullabies.

When he was two he learned to make me smile, and centered his days around that goal.

By his third birthday, he was already my teacher, instructing me on how to enjoy the simplest things in life. His unbinding love for everything around him just radiates from his soul.

On his fourth birthday he began to see me, not just as Mommy, but as another person in the world with him, one that could be his best friend.

Once he turned five I knew my days with him were going too quickly, and as he went into kindergarden, I cherished how tightly he held my hand. At the time I thought it was because he was afraid; now I know it was because he knew I was.

At six he had conquered dragons and wizards as he immersed from behind his books. He was already my hero, but now was finding some of his own.

At seven he found love in doing what I had loved. He played soccer; he wanted to learn the drums. He wanted to absorb all the knowledge around him and found me to be the smartest in the world.

Of course that didn't last, as eight came too quickly, with the friends and the playtime after school. He came into his own that year, finding what he liked and loving me between stops at practice and rides to friends homes.

By the time we celebrated his ninth birthday, he had learned about loss and grief. He understood more about faith than I ever could. His emotions became tangible and his feet stood firmly on the rock.

Once he turned ten I began to try to hold on a little tighter, to keep my baby boy a boy for little while longer. It doesn't work that way, I know. He had some medical scares this year and everyday became more precious. You have never feared until you have seen your own child in danger, or in pain. I watched my son seize on the floor in front me, then in the ambulance, and again at the hospital. It was the longest day, and then weeks, of my life. He was scared of the darkness that took him away for a few brief seconds at a time, but he believed that I would make it light again. He never doubted. For just a little while, he became my baby again in those weeks. Lots of lullabies and rocking, sleep overs and giggling. He reminded me he still was a child that needed his Mom. Through all of it, the testing, the challenges, and then the responsibility of living with a condition, he found his courage. And he learned how to share it with me.

That year was gone so quickly and at eleven he had emerged a responsible young man. Still young, but no longer a boy. Unfortunately, this past year was my turn to be scared of the dark. He held my hand through my sickest days and kept my spirits up in between. He prayed for me, he cried with me, he made me laugh and centered his days around that goal once more. I truly believe he hugged the sickness right out of me. Even on days when I didn't want to fight, he gave me his strength and made sure I used it. He even sang me a lullaby when I couldn't stop hurting. Loving him could make my pain disappear.

He is my light, my strength, and my legacy. And just when you think you couldn't love anything more, you get to have another year...

As I am about to post this, my son will be twelve. I am so proud of who I am... because I am his Mom; and at least for one more year, his Mommy. I am so proud of who he is, and everything he will become. Great things have already come from this young man, and I brace myself for what great things he has yet to do.

In happiness,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

For what it's worth...

Our world is truly beautiful. You don't see it from the clouded glass of a car. It is blurred from your own layers of filth and in the speed at which you ignore it. The burning fuel screams over the whispers of our mother, never allowing us to be close as we should. I ache for those who travel faceless in the cars passing by... only sharing their worth at the value of the label on their transportation.

I see everything clearly for one hour a day, outside the walls of this american lifestyle. The clouds are breathtaking settled above the horizon. Nothing blocks my clear view of what surrounds me. My feet will never travel at such a speed that I can ignore what lies ahead of me, or lose sight of the trail behind me. I am immersed in mother earth, and fueled by her gifts. I hear my own thoughts, my own breath, my own footprints as I place them, each and every one. I am never faceless, wearing my determination and love openly on it. My one simple label reads LIVESTRONG. And that is enough to to share my worth in a passing glance.

Our world is beautiful. I hope you see it, and see it in you, everyday you are blessed enough to still be here.

In spired,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Because I run.

My legs are killing me! Doesn't that just make you want to go out for a run? :) I do... I love this pain.

I have managed, for two days, to stay somewhat in control while running two jobs, starting a nonprofit, managing family schedules/ activities, and rehabbing my leg and fevered body. I stayed in control only because I went for a run this morning. Exhausted, emotionally and physically, I still pulled myself out of the warmth of my bed and ran in the cold. I wanted so badly to get another hour, even another 15 minutes of sleep. Something has clicked in me though. The light is turned on. And not being able to run for a few days of sickness has made me appreciate it even more..

I hurt. Everything aches. And it feels so good. My brain is keeping it all straight and my sleep will heal my wounds. My muscles will wake up sore, but stronger. My legs will hold me up again through my long day tomorrow. And everyday I will love someone better, feel something stronger, and laugh even harder because I run. Because I take time for me.

I can do this. I can do all this and keep time for me. I will run the half marathon in April, and again two weeks later... because I can.

In training,

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Missing out...

So have you missed me? You can post my blog for Friday and Saturday as feverish, sick, and way overwhelmed for a feverish sick person. But I am not accepting excuses, so I guess I just need forgiveness. I was not enlightened in anyway.

Today I am better, and enlightenment returns!

I wanted to take my son Jack on his first 5k this morning. We have been talking about it for days.. actually, weeks. And in my hectic life schedule of the past week, I mistakenly wrote down the race time as 8 a.m., plenty early to get to my renovating job which I scheduled for 10 am. Turns out the race is at 10 am, and I have my staff arriving at the job site at 10. Why can't I get a break anymore? No matter how organized I get, how many calendars, I just can't seem to keep it all straight. And you know who ends up missing out, my family.

So Jack and I didn't get to run, and actually I haven't seen my kids much all weekend. And the time I've spent with my husband has been in passing. Even at the school event, we weren't able to be together much as circumstances just didn't seem to allow it. I am working too much, over committing my time, and missing out on what matters. I am putting others needs and comforts in front of my own, and I am holding myself responsible for always keeping everyone else happy. In turn, I've made myself miserable.

Sometimes you just can't do everything. My run has been off the books since Thursday because I have let myself go to the back burner. It caused me to get sick, to get frustrated and overwhelmed, and it stops tonight. I am setting my alarm for tomorrow a.m., plenty early to get in a morning run. Nothing to do before it and nothing to get in my way. I have most of the day scheduled down to the minute. But I am removing a few things. I even pressed the delete button on the calendar as I write.

Time to get me back.

In route,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

To a fault..

Today I simply want to let you know I acknowledge my faults and am using this year to work on them. Starting with the I hate Thursdays and nothing can be accomplished on this miserable day fault...

and I have a year before I have to have it figured out.

Perhaps procrastination should be high on the faults to fix list too.

I'll make that list tomorrow.

In my moment,


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You give me fever...

I'm no longer used to being sick. I am getting used to being healthy. I don't get the colds everyone else has and my immune system is finally pretty happy. You know why? Because I no longer sit on my ass doing nothing, ever. This is why it hurts so much more to report: I have a fever. I know! It sucks. I am a big baby too. I hate fevers... a lot. I am not tolerant of this; I do not have patience for it; and I really wanted to try out my new Road Warriors sweatshirt. The ice finally starts melting on the streets and my body temperature starts melting my resolve...

I will not be heading out for my evening run this Wednesday night since even the thought of air hitting my skin hurts. I will be doing something just as important as running, sleeping. If we don't rest and heal, we can't run and grow. So I will give myself a break this evening and realize that sometimes I will be sick, and continuing my training will keep these times few and far between.

I can hardly believe that even just a year ago this was expected, normal. Sitting around under a blanket feeling lousy. Wow, my life really sucked. Don't your legs ache when you don't get active each day? Aren't you antsy? Don't you feel stressed? Doesn't everything seem really important and overwhelming? Gosh, I think sitting may give me a panic attack! I truly cannot believe I lived this way for so long. I'd give anything to feel better right now and not have to sit here!!!

So off to take some fever reducer, get a good nights sleep, and set my alarm for an early wake up... I'm considering spinning in the morning since I know my body is stronger than this inconvenience. I am down, but not out..

Okay, time to go. Eyeballs burn a little from the fever...

In pain,

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


10) Because my legs stand strong.
9) Because my heart beats healthy.
8) Because my lungs love expanding.
7) Because my muscles cry freedom.
6) Because my mind finds rest.
5) Because my emotions require stabilizing.
4) Because my nerves are just signals.
3) Because my eyes show my soul.
2) Because my shadow grows too long.
1) Because my soul fuels my world.

I run.

You may never know how fast you can go until someone lifts you're feet up off the ground.

In reason,

Monday, February 15, 2010

Come back to me...

So yesterday was Valentines Day. And I went for an evening run, in the snowfall of the cold winter air, to reflect on the love in my life. But I couldn't focus on good. I thought about the people who don't have love. The problems we all face in our relationships as we challenge each other and grow. I thought about those people in my life that are without love, or with it, but empty in it. Those who search so hard for perfection that never find it. I thought about the times I've been empty in love in my own life. I thought about jealousy, and how it can eat you alive. I thought about how I run from love, over and over again in my life. I ran last night as if running away from frustrations, disappointments, and pain, because sometimes loving someone can hurt. Trusting them and putting everything you are into the hands of another is terrifying. I felt last night that all my work to get happy just can't happen fast enough. Bad days still happen and I don't want that. All that baggage we bring with us still weighs me down. I still fight insecurities that make me want to give up. I had so much on my mind last night, I couldn't find a single thought to focus on. So tonight I reflect on those thoughts, and try to find enlightenment in them.

I started this journey to get to find myself again physically. I wanted to see my own body, as it should be. I wanted to be able to look in the mirror and see me again. I want my kids to know me as the strong woman I am, not the overwhelmed Mom I became. This journey now turns me inward, to finding myself emotionally even more than physically. Sometimes this heightened emotion gets the best of me. Being walled in and hidden under layers can be so much easier. I can just be a smart ass, I can justify problems because of what I'm not, I can accept being ignored or overlooked. I can hide with everyone else when something hurts me, and laugh at things that aren't really funny because that's what we do when we're uncomfortable. I can justify not believing in myself, or expecting more out of my life. And now, I'm somewhere in between. I'm not fully confident in who I am yet. I am not hidden anymore either. And I am no longer accepting good enough, but not sure how to go about saying I expect better without having to have perfection.

I am a perfectionist, and that is not good. It is not healthy. All this inward focus has shown me how this part of me has left me abandoned and empty too many times in my life. Can't be the best? Quit. Make a mistake? See ya! Gain a few pounds? Well, might as well not even try. Not perfect? Not for me... And unfortunately, healing this part of my life seems to be much harder than I could ever have imagined. Finding this problem as a deeply rooted part of my foundation is a big step in the right direction. I just may need a root canal to fix it...

David Cook sings a great song that I never paid much attention to... and now it seems to be haunting me everywhere I go. It's lyrics state "when you find you, come back to me..." Although by each others side for over 8 years now, I am finally, now, coming back to my husband. It's always been good with us, but it's never been this. This is so much bigger than anything I could have imagined feeling in my life. So much so that even writing my thoughts yesterday seemed too hard to put down into words.  I have a great love with my husband, but it, like all good love stories, has it's faults. But our passion and strength can be found in this conflict, and that passion and strength is unstoppable. I love that my husband accepts my crazy days along with my sane. I can be so angry, so upset, so irrational, and he can still love me in the end of the day. And the craziest part of that is even with his crazy days, and even with any faults, I still love him at the end of the day. He gives me strength, and he gives me love, he gives me friendship, and respect. He gives me his time for my dreams, my work. He gives me faith in other people. He gives me trust. He gives... He gives and gives to me, and so many times I don't acknowledge how much that is... I find myself to preoccupied with perfection, with expecting it to be given, rather than seeing the beauty in the gift...

Jeff and I went on a long journey to get here. And when I knew better who I was, many years ago, I let him go. And I told him when he found himself, he should come back to me... and that's just we he did. Little did I know that so many years later, I would need him to do the same. I don't need to leave, or give this up to do it this time. He is my rock and my sanity, and he is a crucial part of who I am. He encourages my journey, and gives me space and time to to run, to think, and to grow. He is part of me, and finding him in this helps me put all the pieces together.

I'm finding me, and I'm coming back to you... and I promise, this time, I'll stay.

In time,

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Love isn't always grand

Somedays it just hurts.


Ok. So I'm late again. But if you haven't been to sleep yet, isn't it the same day?

Somedays, all the work is worthwhile. What a great evening... those that missed it, well, you missed it! We didn't close down the restaurant till one. The people at the bar next door wanted to be at our party! Thanks to all the 40+ people that made tonight so awesome. A 6 course meal, a six hour success... at least for the bravest of us.. and especially thanks to Mom, Donny, Mary, and Dad for such an incredible meal! Back to blog world, I am so appreciative of the peace of this evening. Just happiness and joy, sharing good food with friends, new and old. Random people purchased tickets to our intimate dinner event and these random people left as friends, with each other and us. Good people still exist in this world.. sometimes we forget about the importance of community, or even what that feels like. I know the pictures of this evening's event will say more than any words could do justice.

Tonight I did another thing.. with the help of some tasty wine that my friend so graciously brought... I sang. I am not a good singer, but I love to do it. Fear has kept me from doing it. And a little wine goes a long way in helping that fear... what am I afraid of?.. now that I think of it, I don't know. I guess not being good at something. But I have always wanted to sing, especially to sing with my Dad. I did discover the musical talents of so many friends, and the dancing skills of us backup girls! I am enlightened and exhausted. Fear doesn't have any place in our wants... If you want to do something, do it. I sang Unforgettable with my Dad this evening. Good or bad in tone, lyrics, or notes, we were awesome. Never miss these chances out of fear. And one other moment, I got to sing Dinosaur, my favorite song, with my closest friend... I got to make a new memory with that song that ranks just as precious as the memories made with a friend I miss so fiercely every day. Only she could be there with me, after struggling through my struggles, holding me up when I'm down, being my strength when I have none left. We don't get these moments too often, these friends are two few and can be taken away so quickly, and families strength sometimes is for only so long.. Fear will not keep me from my life. Not my weight, not my freckles, not my crackling voice... I own this life now, with a little help from my friends.

I will be focusing on love today. (Since it is already Valentines day) and I will be running a 5k on this day of love. I will do it on my own, reflecting on what love has given me. My husband has given me so much, he alone will take up two miles at least!  No better reason to spend the day with those I love, doing what I love, and loving life for every snow filled second of it.

But first I will sleep, for at least in the blog world, it is still yesterday.

~In love,

Friday, February 12, 2010

Those damn gazelles...

It feels so good to play, really play, soccer. Taking the advice of my dear friend Brianna, I suffered through another round of physical therapy this morning. It hurt like the fires of Dantes Inferno, but it is worth every second. I, hold for dramatic pause.. .... was able to sprint down the field tonight! Yes, SPRINT. I'm guessing somewhere around 4 years since that last happened. And even better... dramatic pause again... and crescendo..   ... I sprinted down the field and took the ball from the other players! Ha! I'm slowly but surely finding my way back to me. Ultra competitive, fast, skilled me. Okay, so I'm still about a year away from getting close to my old skill level, but I'm at least on the right path. Oh yea, we lost, by one, and the other team was excessively vulgar and mean. But we played hard, and I didn't even kick the ball once with my right leg. LEt the healing continue!

So back to the vulgar and mean part... One so called woman even had the cowardice to call another of my teammates "white trash" after the game. Oh yes. To her face, to instigate a fight. I was not in ear shot of this or she would have discovered very quickly which Beth on this team can be white trash. I had already deliberately tackled, yes tackled, at full speed, as in football tackle, from behind, the mammoth man who had continued to elbow me, intentionally, in my head to keep me from taking the ball from him yet another time. Yes, you may be humiliated to lose the ball to a girl, but the true humiliation comes in the retaliation, on a girl! Soccer is a rough sport, but intentional harm has no place.... (unless it's me seeking revenge of course, not for harm, but for mutual understanding). So I took this guy down, literally and figuratively. Yes, the ref called me on it. But no, the man did not @#$% with me the rest of the game. And sorry to my teammate Brad who had to have the guy fall right at his crotch as I tackled him into you. :) Nothing but love baby.

So black verses red games are no longer cordial rec team play. It is now an all out war. Especially for me and red team girl number 11, for being a punk @#$ @#$%# and causing problems for my Aunt and cousins on the bench. Suck it up. The soda was two bucks and your Mom is still ugly, inside and out. I nearly put a woman's head through a metal bar for less disrespect. And I'm a pacifist! And to the little worthless blonde that had the lack of class as to call my friend white trash, in front of her kids and husband...  my friend may have the class to walk away from you. But I don't.

 It's on!

 It takes a lot for this enlightened girl to lose it.; but my hair is still flaming red and that Irish strength doesn't lie dormant forever.

So I call out to my fans, my local-ites, save your money for my bail. This game is a rematch March 18th. And that evenings blog may not post if I'm in the slammer.  (Note to self, call all police officer friends and buy beer). Everyone rally in support. No need for fistacuffs, we will settle it on the field. My leg will be all better. And I figure I'll have about 15 less pounds on my frame by then. You think I out ran and tackled you tonight... Let's just hope the plexiglass is truly shatterproof. Hockey is my second favorite sport. And old lady that disrespected my cousin, you are now fair game. Don't piss with my family, especially my boys.

The lion is awake. And those damn gazelles better wake up running.

In strength,

Thursday, February 11, 2010

You gotta have faith..

So it's Thursday, the day I am exhausted to the point of breaking. We all know that a run is not in the works since this is rest day. Rest day... not just for Sundays anymore! If this is my physical rest day, and my feet throb and back aches from exhaustion.. how is it rest? Tomorrow I will wake up, itching to go for a run, ready to take on the world. I guess we know what our body and spirit needs, and it doesn't always have to make sense. Finding a day of rest mentally is just as crucial. So I don't think too hard tonight. I'll give myself extra sleep and a little quiet time.

I wish it were that easy for everything else that doesn't make sense. Maybe it is and we just try too hard to figure it all out. Organized religions exist on that concept. Right or wrong, they exist on faith. You may not understand how, but it can heal you suddenly without logic. Love is the same way. Strangers, opposites, may repel each other and then find happiness in each others arms. Not logical, but no less true. This evening I will set down the logic of it and for once, not try to figure it out. I know I hurt like the world is crushing me muscle by muscle. I also know that I will wake up tomorrow like the world is at my feet, there for the taking.

Faith in my body.
Faith in my beliefs.
Faith in love.

I find this gives me strength, letting me wake up to good tomorrows...

~In Faith,

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The dreamers of dreams...

Where are the rest of the dreamers? Negativity is so easy. The cars that want to push you off the edge of the road because you inconvenience them so by existing in their space. The people who just want to bitch to get a free meal. The woman who hates, to avoid being judged herself. The man who cheats to fulfill the empty hole of self loathing. The people who can't deal with change. The drama creators who live in misery as if it were their happiness. No dreamers. No joyfilled wishes. No inspiration.

Where are the music makers? The birds went south because it's freakin' cold. The jazz vibe starves on the streets while the screamers live in the lap of luxury. The rap crap teaching our kids instead of music class in schools. The cookie cutter houses on crowded streets of smog. Nothing new. Nothing unique. No art lining these walls.

It's time for some inspiration. For some straight set priorities. Get up. Take care of yourself. Feed your soul. Do it. Just a few steps out the door and you'll find what you're looking for.

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. ~ Arthur O'Shaughnessy, as quoted by Willy Wonka

~In lightened,

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I am far from perfect...

One on one time for my husband and I comes with a price, a steep price. Although we took just a brief two day trip, we will be paying for it for weeks, minimum. Living with a child with emotional issues is extremely difficult on a family. Talking about this problem is never acceptable either. And that hurts, so I am talking, taking my life in my hands for the sake of my own mental health. For my stepson, his entire universe is his father. And the slightest bit of attention taken away from that, the roof blows off... Anything I do, even if I baked my stepson his own chocolate cake, it would be wrong. He would figure I was trying to poison him, just to be able to create drama and attention. I have learned to stay out of the way with him. Exactly what I hate doing. I want to fix everything for him and make his life happy. I so desperately want to fix him, and not just for him, for selfish reasons too, despite knowing which is the wrong way to handle someone with special needs. No one can fix the problems. Many of his issues are handled at the expense of everyone around him. The wear and tear on my marriage has at many times seemed unsurpassable. My other children do not get to have as much Father son time as they'd like, because many times Daddy is away from us for what can be hours at a time, handling my stepson.

My husband graciously took on the responsibility of raising this young man. My stepson has no where else to go at this point. And it is hard every single day with him here. There are not good days that make it better or to see some kind of improvement. It is always hard and the only improvement may be a day where no one has to cry. I see love and compassion in this young man, and I see a truly sweet soul. He doesn't show it to me very often especially since I am a direct interference with his Dad time and attention. But I do see it, and I know he is so very loving with people that don't get that anywhere else. I hope that someday someone can find a way to help him relate to others without disabilities in a healthy manner, to share time with those he loves and not feel abandoned. I hope that one day he can be independent, not to free myself of a burden, but to give him the life he deserves. That I truly feel. Each day I am more concerned that this may never happen. His reality is so far from the truth.

Many times it is hard to step away, and not look in anger at the life we have been handed. It is hard to not resent my stepson, or have anger towards him. Somedays I am not sure I can even take another day. My husband makes all of it worthwhile. I just wish I could be stronger to be helpful to him. I step aside as much as possible now, understanding that my "help" only hurts the situation. The more I am around and involved, the more jealous and desperate my stepson becomes. That simply results in dangerous, miserable situations in our home.

I want to end this blog by sharing with you how blessed we are, and how strong I am.. but it isn't how I feel.Honestly, I feel saddened by this aspect of life. It hurts me to be hated so much by him, and to never be able to help. It hurts me to see the pain of the hard decisions and the exhaustion of the days events. I can hide from this, and protect my kids from it, by working at the shop and going for runs. But my husband has this responsibility all the time, no help from the Mom, no relatives to help keep my stepson.

So for all of you facing hard situations, you are not alone. I hope anyway, that I am not a bad person for not feeling warm and fuzzy for the blessings of this extreme challenge. It is hard. I wish it weren't and I gradually am accepting it for what it is. Loving my husband through this struggle, and learning to not make it worse. At least I have running as such a great outlet for all this stress, all this pain. I need to head out on the road again, in the bitter cold, to help warm my soul.

~In hope,

Monday, February 8, 2010

Growing pains...

Therapy sucks. Every kind of it.

It hurts. Maybe we just shouldn't injure things or break things so that therapy can simply go away. As you may have guessed, I started physical therapy on my quad muscle today. It wan't so bad when going through the motions, it's the after effects that get to me. My run this evening was much harder than usual. I've tried other therapy too, trying to help what's hard in my life. During the session, it wasn't so bad, but just as before, the after effects were killer. It came very close to ending a relationship I now cherish. I think my running is a much healthier way to handle both problems. But, without the physical therapy, the running may cease. And without the running, the emotional therapy would have to come back at some point. And I certainly don't want to go back into a room of happy feelings or even read those so called "self-help" books. As many pretentious. hallow words in there as in the happy room.

So I'll appreciate my pain for the moment. Understanding it is just growing pains and I'll be stronger for bearing it. Ultimately, the goal is enlightenment and happiness. Pain is necessary to get there. Nobody said this was going to be easy...

~In strength,

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Finding soul food...

 I wasn't home but a few minutes before life came right back.. all the stresses, all the drama. That makes it hard to stay focused and positive. But I won't let go of this great feeling, no matter how hard life tries to suck it out of me. Tonight I didn't run to escape the problems, not physically or in the car. And I didn't push to make everything okay. I let go. I put trust in my partner's ability to take care of the drama. I sat in the next room supporting him in spirit and for once, not trying to take it over.

Tonight, instead of getting pulled into it all, I planned my next few months of races. I even found myself disheartened on the weekends that didn't list an event! As if someone stole my favorite toy... And it isn't just planning to run that made me happy, it is planning the "me" time. What is the point of everyday if not to use that day to do what you love? I remember how it felt to not have anything to make me feel alive... nothing to get excited about. Now I have soccer and running to look forward to and feed my addictions. We all need to feed our souls. Food never fulfills that role. And now that my soul is happy...Drama is no longer needed. No arguing out of boredom, no depression. No more counting food as an event. No more pity parties, no more jealousy. No more insecurities. No more of what made my life unhappy.

If I may ask something of you, I ask that you please find what you love. It doesn't have to be what I love. But you need to have something. Something you love, just for you. Your life isn't going to happen one day. Your life is happening today. And I hear so often, even in my own head, that one day I'm going to do ____________. One day I'll have _________. One day ______________.

Think hard. Really, truly, what happened today that made that goal closer? What did you do today to make one day happen? What did you make of today, this one day, that made you happy?

I can't be great everyday. No one can. I can't always feel like running, being nice, hopeful, or even inspiring. But I can try to feel that way everyday. I can find the strength to at least try.

Today I had to get up. I had to breathe in and out. I had to eat. I had to think. Tomorrow, the same thing. I might as well make it worthwhile. Use those necessary actions to make my life better.  The drama and stresses in my home will always be here. There is no magic cure for my stepson's emotional issues. There are no magic cures that puts a million in the bank. Like Yoda says, the force needs balance. As my friend said, you can't appreciate the good without knowing the bad. As my six year old said, somedays it's hard to not fight on the playground.

~In happiness,

Political in nature...

(Saturdays blog):

I am at the state capitol for a quick little get away with my husband. No kids, no work, just us.

After a little sight seeing once we pulled into town, I couldn't wait to go for a run. That is new for me.  I have always seen vacations as days off, and exercise, especially running, to be work. It wasn't my husband itching to go; it was me. We were checking into the hotel and dusk was settling in. I have worked at the capital a few times, and even been here for business trips and meetings. I am always amazed at the beauty of these old buildings and the grandeur of it all. In every previous trip, I thought it would be neat to be able to run around downtown, on the steps of the capital and through the historic sites. I just never thought I could do it.

As we changed into our running gear, I saw my window for running at dusk getting smaller and smaller. My husband wasn't in a hurry to get out there and I thought I just might miss it. Finally we headed out of the front doors of the hotel onto the ice covered street. Straight ahead of us was the beautiful capital building, glowing in the last moments of sunlight. Once my feet touched the walkway I knew I could run forever. The towering columns at the granite stairway gave perfect shelter from the wind. And to look up, from the feet of the building... just breathtaking.

We continued our run around many of the old buildings, the eclectic shops in the old downtown, even onto some alleyways that probably weren't the best place for strangers to run at night. We didn't pass a single other runner. It is nearly a ghost town this weekend, with all the politicians at home and the locals tucked in from the bitter cold. We did pass the town drunks who cheered "run girl run".A few blocks later we crossed the homeless men thumbing through through books left in the warmth of a store entryway. One man told the other "I know they're hard core, but mother nature took its course… the other man turned out of the cove and onto the street singing the Rocky theme as we pushed on our way.

I can't express the difference in my life since I began this quest, since I journeyed out into the streets with only my running shoes for protection from the hard landings. I would have missed these little moments. I would miss all these sights and sounds that are perfectly in tune when on a run. 

After about 3 miles in the bitter cold, we headed back to our hotel, with one last circle around the capital. This time stopping briefly on the front steps admiring the statue of Lincoln in front of the glowing capital, this time against the dark night sky.

I am in awe of the strong men and women have done great things here.. hopefully we'll find some more to do it again. I recommend mandatory running for all our elected officials. It forces people to take their heads to of their asses and see what's around them.

~In happiness

Friday, February 5, 2010

I love you for always...

I just got in from an admittedly bad soccer game. I ate it with my leg a few times and that quad muscle is hating me now! I am so frustrated with being injured. My whole last five years of my life I have been injured, having to sit out of the game. Now that I'm in it, I want to play, really play. I get angry that I benched myself for so many years. I made choices that got me here. Outside my illness, I think I would still be here. Damage done. Now I try to make better choices, like never benching myself again. I just have to find the patience to let my body catch up to my mind. And to love myself enough to accept where I am, and find strength to grow - instead of push. I am no good injured. I just take up space. So it's time for me to heal... all my wounds this time, not just the one that throbs at the moment. I am learning to love my age, and my aged body. And with love, will come acceptance, patience, and ultimately healing. The best part is that in loving where I am more, I can love everyone around me better. I always felt showing love was a weakness. I even have my maiden name just to keep a little of that power. But I am seeing now that I am only weak in my inabilities.. so I'm healing as many of those as possible.

I don't tell you enough. I love you Jeff. You give me strength beyond measure.

~In happiness,

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Searching for fuel...

February is all about love... and sleet. The little ice chunks pelted me as I did my big run, all the way from my truck to my front door. I guess the run will have to happen tomorrow morning, as I had predicted last week on my non-enlightened, non-motivated Thursday.

My Thursdays are now going to be food days. I am looking for new recipes, vegan, and sources of nutrition to expand my dining horizons. I am still losing weight, which is great, but I am not building muscle as well as I'd like. I still love my protein shakes. I just ordered the "premade" version to try too for my lazy mornings. No chemicals in the Arbonne ones, even in the ready to drink, which is great. But it's not "food". I'm feeling great, but now eating is an effort. Just finding anything worth eating in the Midwest in winter... ugh.

Help! I do not want something from a cardboard box. I do not want to eat a bright red vegetable-ish substance that is actually a bunch of chemicals glued together to pretend to be a tomato. I do not want potatoes to be my main dish. I do not want another vegetable sandwich full of fake veggies.  

Fuel is still the main goal of everything I put in. I enjoy an occasional dessert or treat, but I am not interested in putting things in the fuel tank that are not useful. Organics are so costly, and I'm still waking up everyday poor. How sad that we can feed our kids deadly foods for a .25 cents and the fruit of life costs 3 bucks... things need to change,

I'm on a hunt for good vegan recipes, great running songs, and a some Thursday enlightenment. But, for now, just a point in the right direction would be great.

Happy hunting.

~In happiness,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Dinosaur...

So tonight was big one. Sad, so you're warned. But happy sad, if that helps...

My song, a New World Spirits song, is Dinosaur. I know most of you will have no idea what this is and will never know it either. I listened to this song hundreds of times driving around in my old Ford Tempo. I can clearly see my friend John still sitting in the front seat, holding up the fabric on the roof whenever I had to turn right. You see, the passenger was responsible for moving the red cloth "droop" so I could see out the right window of the car. And John was quite often in the passenger seat. Always just good friends, he never had to waiver from his right to "shotgun." John had spent many rides trying to figure out how to make the fabric stick to the ceiling again. The best ride of course was the trip to Six Flags... when the "droop" covered the exit sign... but that's a story in itself. Only now do I appreciate the beauty of that car... and I can't help but smile.

Anyway, my New World Spirits Fortune Cookie CD has been missing for years and that old Tempo took it's last trip to Longacre park in the late 90s. But I never forgot the songs, the car, or the rides. And many of you know about John, but for those that do not, he is my loving friend that we lost nearly eight years ago very suddenly. He had grown to love 'Spirits like I did, or at least loved my love for them. Somehow, somewhere in my head that can't remember what I did ten minutes go, I still remember the lyrics to every 'Spirits song. And today, my brother was so kind to give me his copy of Fortune Cookie. The one CD I had yet to recover. I was so excited when I got home from work that I forced my kids over to the computer so they could hear some 'Spirits. I had no idea the ride it would take me on by the time I wrote this post.

I think I could run forever to this music. The memories come so fresh in my mind and even though the lyrics are the same, they are so new... even my song, Dinosaur (lyrics below). The same song that John and I played over and over. The song I played in the car while we played sand volleyball way past the hours the lights went out. The one we'd sing so loudly at the concerts, arm in arm, swaying. The same one I sent to him at the Naval Academy when he left early in the summer after our Senior year. The song he tried so hard to teach me to play when he came home for too brief of a visit. The song he sang so quietly to me in the room under the stairs at the chapel as I cried, terrified, before I walked down the aisle to my first husband... The song that comforted me through every hard time by reminding me of him, standing so tall in his full uniform that day, saving me again, making everything okay. The song that played in my head when he held my son Jack for the first time when he came by as a surprise, my baby's head so small in his strong hand, bringing him little Dinosaur booties. The song I remember belting in my Jeep Wrangler, of course with the top down, as we drove home from our band director's retirement party, that last night I ever got to spend with him. That same night we took the picture that hangs in my entryway, both of us grown and happy, even if just for the night.

So tonight I listen again, and let the tears flow freely. Knowing it's okay for me to miss him. Remembering it's alright to cry, to miss a friend I could never replace. And I hear him in the lyrics, and I feel a bit saved. The laughter in my memories, the happiness... the thoughts and memories are all good, actually, they're great. And I know life may be all a chance, fate, random acts... but I can't ignore the significance of a song, of a Dinosaur, that stays with me now, growing in meaning just as it did then.

So, my dearest friend, I run with you. And for you... because all that I can do, to save us both, is not let go...

~In honor,

Dinosaur (New World Spirits)
"I just had an awful dream, 
that you were ripped away from me, 
and all that I could do, to save us both, 
is not let go.

 And then the other one with the smoke and torn from dreaming,
 I awoke, to see you standing,
 right over me, 
but you weren't there, trust me. 
I looked everywhere, 
but I know if you were here, you'd tell me

 When the dinosaurs, come threatening, 
believe me, they will come threatening 
to your door 
I'm sure. 
all the ways, 
just try to explain it, 
all the ways, 

Just remember, I'm only four and my most worst problem thus far
 is trying to get rid of, the dinosaurs,
behind the door, 
but I know,
 if you were here, you'd tell me 

When the dinosaurs come threatening 
and when the silence has all but lessened to a roar,
I'm sure...

It's alright to cry, its all right to cry, and I said yes , I said yes, I said yes...I said yes. It's alright to cry.

I just had an awful dream,
that you were ripped away from me, 
and all that I could do, to save us both, 
is not let go."

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One of those faces...

I hit the shower after my run and can't help but notice this stranger in front of me as I am getting out. One of those faces I guess... Everyone kept saying hello to her; I noticed her workout had been interrupted quite a bit too. She was definitely exhausted but she put on a good show to everyone that came around.  Straight out of the shower, her legs looked like she she'd been beat. Light cellulite dimpled her thighs above rather square knees and calves. She had something beautiful about her, but it is hidden under wear and tear. She seemed unsteady on her feet as she leaned in to examine her face. I can tell she was struggling with the flaws not so elegantly glowing in the harsh lighting. Under her eyes there were dark circles, just short of a black eyes. Their pale color made it impossible to ignore the light that is missing within them, although I thought a little glimmer was starting to push through. She leaned back and straightened her form, sucking and tucking with hopeful expectations. Wrapped in her towel, she looked so weak and ragged.

Once she got dressed, she seemed to have pulled it together for another round of good show. Her make-up routine covered the weariness the clothes couldn't. All in all, she looked like everyone else. I still cannot place where I have seen her or who she is.. I just know that I know her.

I want to give her my strength, my hope, my courage to fight back into my life. But I can't just go up to her and say, "Hey. I noticed you look run down and lost. I want to help you! I'm great and feel wonderful and beautiful. It's going to get better!"

It would seem strange for me to talk to the mirror that way.


Just a little FYI..

Doubt creeps in and kidnaps your will. Don't let it.

Just thought you should know.


Monday, February 1, 2010

That Yellow Brick Road...

I always notice where the grass is greener. I remember as a kid wondering how it felt to be that happy woman. The one who you see at the store giggling with her kids and hugging her spouse. I wondered how or what she had done to have such a simple life. Back then I felt my family always had some drama or another, one hard time after the next. Not that we aren't blessed in the love and closeness we have, but it has come with a price perhaps. I longed for something simpler; perhaps we all still do. I saw the grass much greener walking in her shoes. It is just so easy to see perfection in a moment. No past, no future, just that minute of existence.

Now I walk in my own grass, that same grass I landed so gracefully in when I jumped off the pedestal. I try to find that same rich emerald shimmer here as I have seen beneath others fancy heels. Too often I find that I'm still in the dead of winter, with just a few fresh blades growing in under my ragged running shoes. I haven't given up hope though. And this certainly isn't a pity party. I know that winter ends and spring comes.  I have grown to know that their steps suffer through the shades of the seasons too. Most of all, I am glad to have my husbands weathered shoes beside mine despite the terrain.

I do find strength in knowing that life isn't one moment. All the moments and all the seasons combine to make us who we are. Even Dorothy had to walk on a urine colored road to get to the shiny green fields of Emerald City. Lucky for her she had a few friends to lean on... even in the shades of gray.

~To Oz,