Why I’m Not Racing Today

There was a race in Nashville today. Actually I should say there IS a race in Nashville today- it doesn’t actually start for another couple of hrs, but I decided late last night that I’m not going. Usually the times I don’t feel like racing are the times I need it most. It helps me clear my head, refocus on my long-term goals, and feel better overall. This time it’s different.19713_860775994004483_1182053013396796429_n

This time it isn’t a decision based on lack of motivation or just feeling lazy like the others, it’s based on feeling so completely drained and exhausted from the week that if I were to race I would get to the end of it and feel accomplished, but useless for the rest of the weekend. I’m already toeing that line of complete uselessness and pushing myself to the max in a race is all it would take to send me hurtling into a hermit-like existence for several days. All week I worked, went to committee meetings, prepared decorations for a banquet, took care of 2 houses, 8 dogs, and 3 cats, sorted out graduate school finances, ran my normal week errands, and hit my workouts Mon-Thur. I never made it to bed earlier than 10:30 pm and several nights bedtime was midnight. I have pushed myself a little further every day and last night I realized that as much as this race sounds like fun (there’s a Cinco de Mayo party involved of course it would be fun!) the negatives outweigh the good. So I’m taking a break. Not on a grand scale of taking a week off, not even taking the whole weekend off from training, but a break nonetheless.db5a571e65024249835a8c67e3206c6f

Saturday is my Sabbath, always has been and always will be. Racing on Sabbath is a subject I stay in close communion with God over. It is a personal choice with God’s blessing, but that’s its own post for another time. That being said, Sabbath today is a day for me to spend quiet time at home with God letting Him renew me mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I love training and I love racing. In order to continue both I have to stay healthy in all aspects of my life. So today I take deep breaths and recenter and I let this race go.

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Doing Too Much

My mom is pretty awesome. Actually she’s more than pretty awesome, she’s flippin fantastic and could give any superhero a run for their money. Growing up I never really understood all that she did or how incredible it was. Now that I’m old enough to see the big picture I am blown away by her incredible inner strength and resolve to do everything. When I was growing up she worked full time as an RN, raised 4 children almost single-handedly, cooked most nights, kept the house in order, and ran a Sabbath School program every Saturday at church. That was in addition to getting each of the four of us to softball practice, piano lessons, and a myriad of school activities while helping us with homework most nights.

Today she works full-time, is raising my youngest brother, cooks every night, cleans, runs a Sabbath School program every Saturday, runs a Pathfinder program every week, and still manages to make time for gardening and writing and illustrating a book because she loves it! How does she do it? I haven’t figured it out yet. But she has unknowingly set the bar very high for me. I see everything that she accomplishes and I think I can do the same thing. Maybe its because she’s a mom and I’m not yet, I don’t know, but I fall far short of getting everything done that I would like to.

There are always a great multitude of things vying for my attention- my work, class, my animals, organizations I like to volunteer at, reading, working out, obstacle course racing, church, time with friends, etc. The list seems to grow weekly. With so much to do I usually find myself with my hand in everything and my whole heart in very little. There just isn’t enough energy or time for all that I would like to do. Simply put: I try to do too much. I always mean well , but often times more than one activity or project suffers because I can’t focus everything on just it. My time management skills continue to improve, but this generally leads to me simply taking on more responsibilities. Case and point- I agreed to pet sit/house sit for someone for 2 weeks while they are away on vacation, which would be fine except it is 4 dogs and I need to stay over there every night. This means my own 4 dogs don’t get the quality time with mom they are accustomed to in the evenings and there is a lot of necessary, but “dead” driving time between houses.

I am aware that this post may sound like a lot of whining, and some of it is, but most of it is just me taking a step back and realizing that as much as I would like to be sometimes, I am not my mom and I am not superwoman. I have limits and when I reach them (like now) I have to be able to tell people no and take time for me. I need to better prioritize my time and energy. I have learned the hard way now that there is such a thing as too much no matter how great you may think you are at getting stuff done.

Blogging After Way Too Long

It has been a long while since I blogged last. I finally started writing again a couple weeks ago, but stuck to my notebook. Probably because it was easiest and most familiar. In the beginning I wrote with a fervor and passion I haven’t felt in over a year. Thoughts and emotions poured out of me and I couldn’t seem to keep my hand from my pen. Now, the thoughts and emotions still come, but I find my hand seeking the pen less often. Why?

I honestly don’t really know. It makes no sense to me really, except that my mind is ever-going, never ceasing. I suspect that has some influence because my touch of OCD doesn’t like me mixing different trains of thoughts. They have  to be separated by paragraph and page breaks. But so many times those breaks mean short paragraphs that are aesthetically unpleasing and hard to return to.

I know myself well enough to admit that consistency is not part of my life right now, but I would like to think that my writing and blogging will become more present and often in the coming days and weeks. During my year of silence my desire to share my thoughts and feelings never left, my fear and self doubt simply overrode it.

I am very happy and proud of myself for the obstacles I have overcome to get to where I am now. I am excited about the doors God has opened for me and I look forward to what He still has in store. New things are on the horizon!

What Does Your Box Look Like? Part 1

It’s been almost exactly six months since Darla passed away. Six months since I realized that I was in love with a man who didn’t love me, care about me, or respect me.

Six months always sounds like such a long time when you talk about it in future terms, though generally not as much in hindsight. Back then I’d hoped that in six months the pain would be more bearable, less heart-wrenching, but now I think that was just naivety on my part. After all, how can you put a time limit on the healing process? The pain is no less heart-wrenching now than it was six months ago. Of course, I’d never have imagined then that so many changes could happen to one person, inside and out, in six month’s time, but they have.

What do you do when you find out the person you hold dearest is gone forever, without a goodbye? What do you do when you finally realize that the one person you have spent years supporting and loving with every ounce of your energy and feminine being doesn’t care about you? What do you do when you wake up one day and get hit with a thousand thoughts and emotions that challenge what you stand for, what you value, and who you are as a person?

I’m not the only person to have that happen, and I’m certain I won’t be the last. What makes me different, and yet in some instances similar, to those other people is how I reacted; how I’m still reacting. Some people cry and bury their head in the sand waiting for life to magically change itself and them. Others plod along saying that there’s nothing they can do to change it, it just is what it is and they are who they are so they should accept it.

Then there’s people like me. Men and women who cry, fall, pick themselves back up saying, “I accept this as the challenge it is,” and begin the painful process of changing into the person they want to be.

And it is a challenge. It is a challenge to you as an individual to become the person God created you to be, regardless of how radical a change it might be from where you’re at.  And when I say painful I mean earth-shattering, soul-shaking, rip-your-heart-out-and-watch-it-bleed painful that makes the circumstances that started all of it look like a cake walk.

 

Many, many people recognize the fact that their life isn’t where they want it to be. In fact, most of them feel stuck in a rut, either as one shunned by society or accepted into a certain mold. The problem on both sides is that they are afraid of what it will take to change! They look at it and say, “yes, I’m not happy with who I am or where I’m at, but at least this is familiar. Don’t challenge me to change, I don’t know what will happen.” In layman’s terms, they are too afraid to step out of the box, however lumpy, disfigured, small, or miserable that box may be.

Before the circumstances that challenged me at that level happened I felt the same way. I wanted to change, but I didn’t really know how. I wanted where I lived and what I was doing to be different, but I was in such a mental, emotional, and financial rut I didn’t have a clue how to start getting out. My box had been torn and taped back together and rained on so many times it looked like a piece of cardboard the dog had tried to eat, but couldn’t swallow, tried to lay in, but couldn’t fit, and finally peed on and left alone!

But God is so good! He gave me the resources, the strength, the courage, and the light to step out of that box completely, brush off my hands, and walk away hand-in-hand with Him. I had to say, “Ok, God, I’m ready to let You handle my life.” And only then did I realize that God doesn’t want me to be in a rut or a box at all.

One Deep Breath At a Time

It has been several months since my last post. Once or twice I sat down to write and I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t organize anything or get it out.

My life has changed so drastically since I last wrote; The most important change being that I lost two of the most important people in my life at the same time. One was my closest friend and confidante who passed away in her sleep from an unknown cause, the other was the love of my life.

I have battled a myriad of emotions on a daily basis and I continue to struggle with finding peace and understanding in it all. Today I went to church for the first time in months. My prayer has been and will continue to be that I keep my focus 100% on Christ and that by truly searching His words and His guidance that peace will come to me. My heart has been broken for so long now sometimes I wonder if it can ever be made whole again…

So I hold on to Christ’s promises and I ask that He hold me in His arms and lift me up. And I try to find joy in the memories and the small things I experience each day. I look for the positive and try to push away negativity and hurtful thoughts, while also praying for everyone I come into contact with, that I can be positive towards them in some way and that whatever influence I have is uplifting and Christ-centered.

And meanwhile I just take each day, each hour, each minute…one deep breath at a time.

Write & Serve Whether You Feel Like it or Not

Today I don’t feel like writing, but I know I should. I’ve tried the daily word count, which I admit has been forgotten multiple days, and I have started the A to Z Challenge, which has not gone as well as I’d hoped. Image

Fortunately, a friend posted something on Facebook this morning that got me to thinking about some things.

I currently live with three men: one is only home on weekends and long holidays, one recently moved in, and the third actually rents the house. The biggest difference in living with the three of them is that one helps me clean when he’s home, one compliments me when I clean, and one ignores me when I clean. Image

Before I say anything else on that I’m gonna have a little side track. That is that for many years I was the perfect people-pleaser. I would bend over backwards to please everyone around me, not realizing that it’s not really possible. I tried all the time, always looking for a way to make everyone but myself happy. In my mind making everyone else happy meant not getting yelled at or stepped on. It meant making my life easier even if it wasn’t happier.

Eventually I stopped people-pleasing merely to make my life easier and everything I did to please others was when it really did make me happy. I like seeing others smile, like being the source of someone else’s happiness, just not at the expense of my own, which brings me back to the present.

The renter of this house has been gracious enough to let all of the other inhabitants live here for a variety of reasons, and I see no problem in helping keep things clean. After all, I have helped with rent and utilities sporadically when I had money, though it’s not my biggest contribution. However, my contributions keeping the house clean and the laundry done has become more and more of an overlooked thing. It is not unusual for me to spend several hours washing dishes or washing and folding laundry and hear nothing about it.download (3)

In the last few weeks it has been increasingly difficult not to become petulant over the matter. I mean, really, no one likes to feel under-appreciated. However, this morning my friend shared a Bible verse that helped me put things in perspective:

“Whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20: 26, 27

This reminds me that it doesn’t matter how I feel I should always have a servant’s heart. It doesn’t mean let everyone use me or make me a doormat, but I should always be willing to help others even if it goes unnoticed. Christ served everyone. He spent most of his time with those that the majority of society shunned. Likewise, I should serve everyone, not just those I feel like.images (5)

 

B is for Beautiful

My Friends Are Beautiful

I worked at a behavioral health hospital with kids and teenagers for 3 years. During that time I became close friends with one of the managers. He wasn’t my unit manager, but he visited my unit frequently and he took a real interest in the people he worked with. His name was Ernest and I could always count on him to make my day better. download

One of the things that was so endearing about Ernest was his “hello beautiful” greeting. Every time I walked through the door it was the first thing out of his mouth. The definition of beauty is: the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).

I have not been good about keeping up with several people I used to work with, Ernest being one of them, but I bet if I walked through the door tomorrow he would look up, smile, and say “hello beautiful” because to him I am. Likewise, my friend Jennifer calls me beautiful when greeting me after a long while.

The people you surround yourself with can either lift you up or bring you down. You must choose your friends wisely because eventually you will reflect their thinking and behavior. I think on my friends Ernest and Jennifer and so many more and know that they are truly beautiful.

I Am Beautiful

Self-esteem has been an issue for me most of my life. Growing up I heard how fat and ugly and worthless I was from my brothers, I was a shy recluse most of high school, and my two serious romantic interests during college only made things worse.

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It took me a long time to realize that the image these boys and men projected on me were not me at all. I am an independent, intelligent woman. I am Beautiful. I do not need their approval.

Life Is Beautiful

Life is what we choose to make it. You cannot wait for other people to tell you who to be or what to do or how to think. Each person is a unique individual and each person is accountable for their own actions.

(On a side note: If someone doesn’t accept responsibility for their actions you must forgive them and move on. You cannot make them change and it is not your place. You can try to show them a better way, but in the end you are only responsible for you.)

One of the most important life lessons I’ve learned is that life happen whether you shut yourself in a closet every day or you go do something. Life must be lived to the fullest. Do not wait for it to pass you by. Do the things you want to do. Dream big and dare to go after your dreams. 9563

I don’t know about your life, but mine is truly beautiful, not because I don’t make mistakes and not because things don’t go wrong, but because I choose to see it as such.