Easter Memories

We had a surprise this Easter–snow.  Anyone that paid attention to the local weather forecast wasn’t too surprised by it since it was forecasted, but it is rather unusual for this part of the world this time of the year.  What was really surprising was the fact that the snow stuck around.  Usually any snow we get this time of year melts as soon as it hits the ground.  Not this one.  We got at least two inches of the white stuff.  It really ticked me off when I got up Monday morning and looked out the window to see the ground still covered in whiteness.

This reminded me of another time when it snowed on Easter.  I was five years old.  My mother and I, my aunt, and my cousin flew to California to visit my uncles, cousins, and my grandfather.  When we left the city it was 70 degrees and sunny.

We were pleased to find similar weather in California.  One afternoon my uncle took us out on a houseboat.  My cousin and I must’ve been eating a lot of bananas, because I can remember my uncle trying to convince us that we were eating so many bananas that we were going to turn into monkeys.  Neither one of us were buying it.

The only thing I can remember about visiting my grandfather was playing outside.  He had a lemon tree in his yard.  I love lemons to this day.  I loved picking a lemon from the tree, biting down on it, and going about my business sucking on the lemon.  I can remember my mom opening the door and yelling, “Take that lemon out of your mouth.  It’s going to eat all of the enamel off your teeth.”

I also remember a cactus in the yard.  I think we were more curious about it than anything else.  I can remember looking it over and examining the cactus needles and breaking a few off with a rock.

Everything was bright and sunny and carefree until our plane touched down on our return trip.  We arrived home in the middle of a snow storm!  We got in the car and headed home only to make it to the Blue Light gas station.  Once there, we were forced to park the car and sit inside the gas station because the road ahead was closed due to a ten-car pile up.

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I have no idea how long we were there.  It may have been a matter of minutes, but to a five year old it felt like eternity.  We were doing nothing but sitting around waiting at this tiny, tiny gas station.  We weren’t the only ones there–there were other stranded travelers waiting as well.

As any child would do in these circumstances, I decided to come up with a way to entertain myself.  My mother was pregnant at the time, and she was far enough along that it was noticeable and there was no hiding it.  I decided to strut around the gas station, stick out my stomach, and proclaim, “Look, Mom.  I’m pregnant.”  Keep in mind that there was a time that these things weren’t as openly talked about as they are now.  Nervously, my mother would quietly but sternly say, “Shhhhhhh!  Be quite.”  My response was to stick my stomach out even more and talk a little louder.

I can’t imagine how relieved my mother must’ve been when a highway patrolman finally took us home.  The only thing I remember about the ride home was getting home and all of the bright lights and equipment inside the car.  It was breathtaking to a five year old.

After our trip, I can remember being asked by a lot of people, “How was your trip to California?”  To my mother’s horror, my answer every time with great excitement was, “We got to ride in a police car!” My mother would then quickly explain the circumstances in which we ended up in the “police car.”  For years, I thought my mother’s quick explanation was because she was disappointed that the highlight of my trip was the ride home.  It took time for me to understand that she had a reputation to protect!

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A Sentence a Day for March 2018.

I cannot take credit for this idea. This is something that I saw somewhere out on the blogosphere. I thought it looked like a fun idea. I thought it would be fun to also include a few pictures from throughout the month. For April, I will concentrate on making each entry a complete sentence and making each sentence more descriptive.

3rd, Saturday.  Ran the Liberty Hospital 5K and completely exhausted myself by walking home.

4th, Sunday.  Church, out to eat, and then a windy but warm trail walk.

5th, Monday.  Was hard to watch, but went to see Tortured for Christ.

6th, Tuesday.  A very windy, gray day to stay inside.

7th, Wednesday.  Ran 4 miles tonight–first time since last fall.

8th, Thursday.  Took a walk to the end of the street and back with my oldest whom I hadn’t seen for a few weeks.

9th, Friday.  The cat escaped from the house today, but we found her lying on the deck railing in the warm sunshine.

10th, Saturday.  Another cloudy, blah day.

11th, Sunday.  Went to see 15:17 to Paris.

12th, Monday.  Went with DH to his dentist appointment and then ate lunch at the Little General Store.

13th, Tuesday.  Cinderella is happy that she got her cleats and shingards for soccer.

14th, Wednesday.  Supporting  a friend through a difficult time.

15th, Thursday.  A perfect day weatherwise, so we took the princess to the park.

16th, Friday.  A day to stay home and do some house cleaning.

17th, Saturday.  Cinderella had her first soccer game, and they won!

18th, Sunday.  Sundays are often the busiest day of the week!

19th, Monday.  Today was a hard day, so I stayed home instead of running with my friends.

20th, Tuesday.  A cloudy, cold day to start Couch to 5K.

21st, Wednesday.  Cinderella was extremely disappointed that soccer practice was cancelled tonight.

22nd, Thursday.  It’s finally starting to feel like spring!

23rd, Friday.  It was an eventful day starting with a field trip, the library, and then the hospital!

24th, Saturday.  Liam Alistair enters the world at 2:14 am.

25th, Sunday.  Got to visit Liam this afternoon, but Nurse Ratched won’t even let me hold him.

26th, Monday.  I spent the afternoon and night at the hospital with Liam.

27th, Tuesday.  Liam came home this afternoon.

28th, Wednesday.  Ran in the rain tonight with Cinderella.

29th, Thursday.  It was a cold run tonight, but at least it was dry.

30th, Friday.  Finally, sunshine!

31st, Saturday.  Preparing for Easter Sunday.

Spring Update

Right now we have a brief lull in activities, so I’m trying to lay low and take it easy.  Spring is always a busy time, with April being the busiest month of the year, so I know it’s not going to last long.  And this year we have a grandbaby coming in April as well.  In a few weeks, it will be time to shift into overdrive!

I already have an event planned for every weekend in April.  They keep stacking up, so there are some Saturdays that I have three places I need to be.  Ain’t gonna happen!

Last week I ran four miles for the first time since I sprained my ankle.  It was slower than all get out, but that’s ok.  My doctor says it should be healed and he thinks the pain I’m feeling is just from it being stiff and not as elastic as it used to be, so I’m trying to move more and keep it loosened up.

I am definitely loving daylight savings time.  It is so nice to have more daylight in the evening and to be able to get outside.  It certainly is taking some adjustment, though.  Everytime I look at my watch, it’s an hour or two later than I think.  It seems like it’s making the time fly away.

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I unintentionally took a break from juicing for several months.  I just got out of the habit of making it.  I was starting to feel the effects of not having juice in my diet, so I have gotten back to making juice again.  I was expecting it not to taste good to me after not having it for so long.  Actually, it was delicious, and I felt like I had been missing something special.  Lesson learned.

It seems like it has been a longer, harder winter than what we’ve had in the past.  It got cold earlier in the fall than what we’re used to.  I remember going to the sports store looking for winter running accessories in October and the sales clerk telling me that it had gotten cold earlier than usual so they weren’t going to have winter items in for a few weeks yet.  We didn’t have a lot of snow this year, but we had a lot of small snow falls or even sleet and ice.  Our weather wasn’t necessarily harsh or severe, it just made it more difficult to get out.  As you know, once you start slacking off, it’s easy to continue.

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Now that we are in daylight savings time and it’s a bit warmer, I feel like spring is just around the corner.  Time to break free!

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36

Hospital Half and 5K

March’s race was the Hospital Half and 5K.  This is not just a race, it’s an event!  I also ran the inaugural race last year.  This year, it was even bigger and better with more runners and more vendors.  This race benefits the LiveWell grant program, providing health and wellness grants to area non-profits.

This race starts and ends about two miles from my house at my local community center.  This winter, I have continued to meet there about once a week to run with a couple of friends.  I say “about” because the plan was always to meet there, but often the weather didn’t cooperate, so we’d end up not meeting or going to the cave to run.  Since we were not able to meet there nearly as often this year, I did not feel nearly as prepared for this race as I did last year.

Parking was at a premium, and runners were encouraged to park off-site and take shuttle buses, but I was able to hitch a ride with my daughter.

We were fortunate enough to have perfect running weather.  It was about 43 degrees and sunny outside.  There was a slight breeze from the south, which meant it would be at my back at the end of the race and up that big, ugly hill.

At 8:00 they started with the national anthem and then lined the half marathon runners up.  I went out to cheer those runners on as they left the chute.

The 5K started at 8:30.  We lined up and were off to a rocky start as there really were too many runners to go out the chute all at once.  At the start of the race I ended up on the other side of the road with oncoming traffic.

This year, I ran about halfway up that ugly hill and walked the rest.  I didn’t have a great finishing time, but I finished and my time was better than my last race two weeks ago, so I’m happy with that.

After the race, I visited some of the vendors with a couple of friends.  It was almost like going to your wholesale club on sample day except that these were much larger samples.  We had the regular fruit and snacks offered after most races along with chocolate, strawberry, and root beer flavored milk from a local dairy; pulled pork sandwiches from the rotary club; pizza; smoothies; and fresh draws served up from our local brewery.

After spending some time browsing around with friends, I decided to walk home.  I was tired, so the walk was a little further than I would have liked.  However, I did see some signs of spring!

Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;  Genesis 1:14

Sweetheart Run 5K

February’s race was the Sweetheart Run 5K.  I ran this race last year with my daughter and a few friends and had a great time.  There is also a runners’ expo after the race, so it’s a good time to get discounts on future races, running gear, etc.

This race was originally scheduled for the 10th.  Due to a forecast of incoming snow, the race was postponed to the following week.  We didn’t get the snow that was forecasted, but it was very cold on the 10th, so I was glad for the week’s delay.

As always I was watching the weather forecast so I’d know what to expect and could prepare for race day.  It was forecasted to be about 43 degrees and cloudy at the time of the race.  I would need a jacket, earmuffs, and long pants.

When I got up the morning of the race, I again checked the weather.  It was as predicted, so I got ready for the race as planned and had a small breakfast.  I was ready to walk out the door when my oldest daughter came in through the garage, “You know it’s snowing, right?”

I looked outside.  The ground and our vehicles were covered in snow and there were huge snowflakes falling from the sky.  I was not prepared for snow.

Lesson #1:  Always pop your head outdoors to see what the weather is actually doing while you still have time to make adjustments.

We went on our way.  This race was on the other side of town–further away than most of my races.  We drove through the mist and wet roads.  I remember saying, “I’m not prepared to get wet!”

Lesson #2:  Always bring a change of clothes.

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Race time came and it was cool and breezy, but at least there wasn’t anything falling from the sky.  The pavement was wet, so I was expecting to get wet from the knees down.  Then, as we walked up to the start line I got another surprise:  this year’s race would be run in reverse of last year’s race.

With running being very much a mental sport, this threw me off.  I had checked the route, and it had not been updated in the race information.  I started going through the route backwards in my mind.

In the end it was a good race.  The weather held out, and I did not end up soaking wet.  Most of all, I met my goal:  I beat the girl in the pink pants!

Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Proverbs 24:17

Battle of the Bean 5K

January’s race and my first race for 2018 was the Battle of the Bean 5K.  The charity for this race was Happy Bottoms which is a diaper bank for local low income families.  Paper products are a great need for low income families as government assistance does not provide them.

Battle of the Bean does seem like an odd name for a race, but the “beans” that are “battling” here are the coffee bean and the cacao bean.  When you register for the race, you choose whether you wish to be on Team Coffee or Team Cocoa.  I never let something as vile as coffee touch me lips, so I went for Team Cocoa.  I rarely drink it due to the sugar and calories involved, but just imagining rich, creamy cocoa with marshmallows on top was enough to put me on the team!

The race itself was sponsored by a local coffee shop.  It was amazing!  Along with the usual coffee shop items, they also had gourmet chocolates and frozen custard made at the shop.  They had samples out for the runners after the race.  The chocolate looked too good to eat, and tasted fabulous.  The custard was the smoothest and creamiest I’ve ever had.

We were fortunate that we had some warmer weather move in a few days prior to the race.  It was foggy and damp, but all of the snow had melted from the roadways.  It was also about 42 degrees, which is perfect running weather.  The first thing I did when we got there was take about 10 steps and step into a pothole full of water.  So, I ran with one very soggy foot.

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As is my custom, I drove the route a few days before the race so I’d know what to expect.  With the cold weather, ice, and snow we’ve had lately, I haven’t been running much.  I knew mile one would be the easiest with a very long descent.  I expected mile two to be the toughest with a long hill to climb.  Mile three was flatter, so I thought it would be a nice break after mile two.

It didn’t take long for me to find out that two miles is about my endurance level right now.  The second mile was my fastest, but I was exhausted afterwards.  The third mile was tougher than I thought it would be, but I still made it with a time that I can live with.

Instead of a finisher’s medal, we got these really nice mugs that commemorate the race.  They are heavy duty and large enough to use for your favorite drink or soup–or maybe even a dessert!  I love that it’s something I’ll use over and over again.

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 
I Corinthians 10:31

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(Cocoa not included.)

Christmas Blessings

No matter how you celebrate, I hope you had a merry Christmas.  I have tried to sit back, relax, and let things go.  One thing I did this year in order to try to make things simpler was that I bought a little four-foot artificial Christmas tree.  Cinderella has only known going out and buying a real tree every year, so this was a bit of a disappointment to her.  When I brought the tree home and pulled it out of the box, she took one look at it and proclaimed, “It looks horrible.  You ruined Christmas!”

She was right.  It did look horrible.  But, after some fluffing and decorating it didn’t look too bad.  Then I put it on top of the end table and that gave it the illusion that it was bigger than it really was.  Christmas had been salvaged!

Christmas Eve morning, we were blessed with snow.  Cinderella was also blessed with sickness, so I ended up staying home with her Sunday morning.  We did end up going out that evening for a bit of celebrating.

Christmas morning is always stocking time.  There was a bit of confusion this year as Cinderella could not find her stocking.  So, I ended up putting her stocking stuffers in her boots.  It worked.

Christmas day was family time at our house.  We still had some snow on the ground, and it was enough for it to be considered a white Christmas!  It’s been a while since we’ve had one of those.

As always, we had much more food than we needed and probably all ate more than we should.  After we were all stuffed, we exchanged some gifts.  I think everyone had a good time.

But, the most important thing of all is that we were all together.  It didn’t matter how big the tree was, whether or not the table was set perfectly, or that we used paper plates.  The important thing was that we were together.

Christmas

Grandchildren are the crown of old men, And the glory of sons is their fathers.
Proverbs 17:6

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

I’m trying to remember that, I really am.

I’m trying to ignore that my stress levels are through the roof, my eating is completely out of control, and I’ve gained a few pounds.

I want to believe that we will find the answers for Cinderella that we’re so desperately looking for.  I want to believe that one day things will be “normal” for us.  A few weeks ago I had completely lost hope.

But now there is a glimmer–a glimmer of hope.  And, after all, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

 


May you accept the greatest gift of all this Christmas season–the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Christmas Light 5K 2017

Last Saturday was the Christmas Light 5K. Proceeds for this race go to benefit a local YMCA and their learn to swim program. I ran this race last year, so I knew what to expect. Last year’s race was a PR and is still my best 5K time yet.

This is more than a race, it’s an event! Runners are encouraged to dress up, and there is a costume contest before the race. Winners are chosen by audience participation (cheering). In other words, you’re judged by your fellow runners. You can also get your picture taken with Santa before the race. The race begins at 5:30 pm, which is right about the time it gets dark this time of year. The idea is for you to take a look at the Christmas lights along the route. Many of the homes are actually in a Christmas lighting contest with hefty prizes involved.

I was better prepared for this race than last year. Last year I got caught up in the dressing up, and had too much garb to deal with while I ran. This year I focused on doing well during the race, and that was a help. I wore less garb, so that gave me less to deal with while trying to run. The temperature was about the same as last year, so I knew that I needed layers–two pairs of pants, a long sleeved shirt and a jacket, ear muffs, gloves, and something to cover my face. I also knew that it was very likely that most of this was going to come off during the race and that it needed to go in my pockets and that I needed to be able to zip my pockets up. I did not zip my pockets last year and ended up losing a glove.

I met up with some friends before the race. We were busy gabbing, so when it came time to line up for the race, we ended up towards the back of the pack. Once race time came, the Christmas music stopped long enough for the National Anthem. Then the gun went off. It would be a full minute and nine seconds before we actually crossed the start line.

I am still dealing with my ankle injury, and I’m convinced it will be spring or even summer before it is completely healed. My endurance was also way down after not running for nearly three weeks. I am continuing with the run/walk/run method using a 60 second run/60 second walk. I was hoping to change to a 60 second run/30 second walk for this race, but I knew I was not physically ready for that yet.

The course was the same or nearly the same as last year. It is in a part of the city that is flat as a pancake. Some people like that, some people don’t. At least with the hills, you get to go downhill at some point.

About half way through the race, I started feeling tired and fatigued. My third mile was my slowest, and there were a lot of people that left me behind. I finished right at two minutes slower than last year. I’m ok with that, because I know that’s where I am right now. It’s still far from my slowest time.

Afterwards there was hot chocolate and healthy snacks provided by Natural Grocers. But the best part of all was the time spent with friends.

Grub Run 5K

November’s race was the Grub Run 5K.  This is the third year for this race which goes to benefit a food pantry at a local church.  The church also has a silent auction in conjunction with the race.  This event is about as close to home as it gets–literally less than a mile the way the crow flies.  It’s always nice to support something local, and especially nice when it’s right in your own town and/or neighborhood.

Within the last couple of weeks, the winds have turned around to the north, and it has cooled off.  This makes for perfect running weather; however, I’m not used to the cooler weather quite yet.  I’ve been drinking lots of warm drinks and trying to stay warm.

At start time, it was about 45 degrees.  Again, perfect running weather.  I always start out with gloves, a jacket, and something to cover my ears in this type of weather, but it never stays on for long.

Since I’m still recovering from my ankle sprain, I’m using the run/walk/run method.  I had decided to go with a pace of running for one minute then walking for one minute which would mean that I would run half of the race.  I use a tabata timer on my phone to tell me when to run and when to walk.  “Walk” in this instance means to walk at a swift pace, not to walk like it’s an afternoon stroll in the park.  My ankle was pretty sore Thursday and Friday after running Wednesday night.  I tried to take it easy Thursday and Friday, and I was relieved to have my ankle feeling pretty good Saturday morning.

This race had a lot of hills and wouldn’t you know that it worked out that I had to run up every one of them!  But, with the one minute walks, the hills didn’t seem bad at all.  For the first two miles, I pretty well kept pace with the same people.  Some of them I’d pass, then they’d pass me, and we kept playing the passing game.  However at mile three, I started leaving people behind.

I was expecting my time on this race to be one of my slowest.  However, once I saw the clock, I knew it wasn’t!  I was even more surprised to be first in my age group.

After the race, there was a pancake breakfast and silent auction that could be enjoyed during the award ceremony.  I did great in the award ceremony, but struck out in the silent auction.

Once I got home, I decided to compare my time with my other races.  Out of 18 races that I’ve participated in so far, my time on this race came in fourth.  When looking at my one mile splits, my pace got faster with each mile.  I am sold on the run/walk/run method!

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.  John 6:35