Mother’s Day and Beyond

Mother’s Day was nice.  It is one day that I refuse to do any cooking and the one day that I refuse to go out at lunch time because the restaurants are always packed.  Friday and Saturday before Mother’s Day were both very busy, so I was hoping to stay home and do nothing.  However, that did not work out.  I ended up going to a movie with my two daughters, stopping to eat before the movie.  It was a nice day.

I’m now on the last week of my spring Couch to 5K program.  We met on Tuesdays and Thursdays and were expected to run one day a week on our own.  I’ve continued to meet with my Wednesday night running group.  I didn’t know how I’d like running three days in a row, but I have noticed a positive difference.  I’m working on a plan to continue after this week.

This coming Saturday is my first race since March.  If you recall, my April race was canceled.  Even though I’ve been running, I feel out of practice!

On the interstate today, we were passed by a racecar nearly 100 years old!  It was a 1927 Bugatti 35b.  How do I know this?  It was printed on the side of the car!  The man driving it was definitely a lot braver than I am.  Cinderella thought that it looked like, “The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car.”  I was driving, so I wasn’t able to take a photo, but check out these images on Google.

Let your father and your mother be glad, And let her rejoice who gave birth to you.  Proverbs 23:25

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Consider it Joy

I was reading with Cinderella one day when we heard a loud crash.  It sounded like glass shattering.  We have a cat, so once in a while we do have things come crashing down when she’s not quite as agile as she thinks she is.  We took a quick look around and didn’t see anything, so we assumed the noise came from the family room downstairs.

Later in the day, I went up to my bedroom for something.  I was immediately greeted by a mess.  In a fraction of a second the crashing noise we heard that morning came back to me and the connection was made.  This is what we heard.  I was staring at my medals in a heap on the floor.  Every one of them had come off the pants hanger I had them hung on.  The hanger had fallen, taking everything with it.  My medal from the Christmas Light run had come apart, but it was dutifully blinking.

And that’s how the last several months have been.  Every time I get a glimmer of hope, things come crashing down, and all hope is gone.  Then the cycle starts again.

Everywhere I look lately, I see “suffering.”  Not that I see people suffering, but that I see suffering as the topic of conversation. Our church is going through the book of John, and we are nearing Jesus’ crucifixion.  There is no doubt that Jesus’ suffered physically and spiritually.  Also, our ladies’ Bible study group has recently been focusing on suffering.

I read Lysa Terkeurst’s book Made to Crave a few years ago.  I’ve had the Made to Crave Devotional for quite some time.  I’ve decided to actually use it, and now she is focusing on suffering.

Living in the freest and wealthiest country in the world, I can’t help but wonder if anyone in the U.S. actually knows what true suffering is.  Are we just a bunch of pansies that need to buck up, or do we truly experience suffering?

James 1:2 tells us to “consider it all joy” when we encounter various trials.  That certainly is not usually our first thought.  Our first thought is to consider it misery and suffering.  Instead, we are to “consider it” or ponder, think, turn it over in our minds to joy.  What a task!

Why are we to do this?  Because it will lead to endurance.  You can never have too much endurance.  I have written on this before.  It builds character which then leads to hope.  James 1:12 tells us that “blessed is a man who perseveres under trial;”

If you are in the midst of a trial right now, I want to encourage you to hang on.  Ponder and think about it, try to consider it joy.  Believe me, I know how difficult that can be.  Look ahead to what it will bring:  endurance, perfection, and hope.  And don’t forget that there is a blessing waiting for you in the end.

Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12

A Sentence a Day for April 2018

April is gone, and May is here.  It seems as I get older that time goes by faster and faster.  Earth is spinning so fast, that I expect to go flying off of it at any moment.

April has always been the busiest month of the year for us with October running a close second.  I’m not really sure why.  My guess is that in April the weather is usually starting to get nice, so there are tons of activities to go to.  In October, there are always a ton of activities to go to, and my guess is due to the fact that winter is just around the corner and soon we won’t be able to go anywhere.

As you can see, there are several days that I did not make an entry; and I chose not to go back and try to recreate one.  Life is busy right now and that’s just the way it is.  As the weather gets nicer and the days get longer, that means more time outside and less time inside looking at a screen.  Surely that’s a good thing.

  1. Sunday.  Wow!  A white Easter.
  2. Monday.  I was shocked when I woke up this morning and there was still snow on the ground.
  3. Tuesday.  I was not heartbroken to attend a meeting tonight instead of running since it was cold, cloudy, and very windy.
  4. Wednesday.  It was a beautiful, sunshine-filled day for a four-mile run.
  5. Thursday.  Another beautiful day, but we are expecting snow tomorrow.
  6. Friday.  The warm weather did not last long, and all soccer games have been canceled for tomorrow.
  7. Saturday.  It was cold today but the sun felt wonderful.
  8. Sunday.  Snow again!  When will it ever end?
  9. Monday.  I took Cinderella to see a movie (Big Sonia) about an amazing woman who survived the holocaust.
  10. Tuesday.  Tonight’s run was short, but for the first time in a very long time it felt really, really good.
  11. Wednesday.  I love that running is starting to feel good and that I’m starting to feel like myself again!
  12. Thursday.  I RAN into The Princess at the park this evening while running.
  13. Friday.  I cannot believe that tomorrow’s race has been postponed.
  14. Saturday.  It was a cold, windy and miserable time to sit outside for Cinderella’s soccer games.
  15. Sunday.  Snow for the third Sunday in a row!
  16. Monday.  I stayed home today, did some work around the house, and finished our taxes.
  17. Tuesday.  Running is starting to feel good again!
  1. Wednesday.
  2. Thursday.
  3. Friday.
  4. Saturday
  5. Sunday
  6. Monday
  7. Tuesday.
  8. Wednesday.  This rainy day was perfect for shopping at the JBF Sale.
  9. Thursday.
  10. Friday.
  11. Saturday:  Cinderella is 10!
  12. Sunday:  Fifth Sunday is the day that we, “Go to church and don’t leave until the food is all gone.”
  13. Monday:  A beautiful, warm day to recuperate from the busy, food-filled weekend.

Lesson Learned: Choosing a Race

Today I expected to have an update for you from my latest race.  As you well know, things don’t always go as planned.  Unfortunately, my race was postponed.  The reason we were given was the weather, however, the forecast was calling for cloudy and 50 degrees at race time.  This has been another lesson learned.

April is always the busiest month of the year for us.  Why, I don’t know.  Maybe it’s because winter is officially over, the weather is finally comfortable, so everyone wants to get out and do things.  Considering that, I only had one Saturday in April that I could run a race.  After scouring the internet, I found two races in the area for that day.  One was a large city-wide race with thousands of registrants, the other a tiny, tiny race with less than 50 registrants.

We went for the smaller race.  The proceeds of this race went to benefit a family whose child was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago.  This was the 2nd annual race.

The Monday before the race we received via email a race packet.  I did appreciate this since not all races publish one.  It was nice to have everything you needed to know in one place.  It gave the time and location for packet pick up, where to park for the race, the race route, etc.  At that point, everything seemed in order.

On Tuesday before the race I received an email that read,

The timing chips will be unavailable this Saturday. We do not have enough runners to justify the cost. Also if you have family or friends that would like to run with us, shirts are not available the day of the race or at pickup. (For you, the shirts will be with your race packets.)

I was disappointed, but I understood.

On Wednesday before the race we received an email that read,

We are also having packet pickup only on Saturday from 7:45-8:45a before the race. No Friday pickup . . .

I understood why they perhaps wouldn’t want to have a packet pick up the day before the race due to the number of registrants, but at this point I was thinking something might be amiss since packet pick up is usually run by volunteers and has no cost involved.  On Thursday I remember telling a friend that it doesn’t look good to promise a bunch of things and then take them away.  It’s much better to not promise them in the first place.  And, I even said, “I’m just waiting for them to cancel the race.”

On Friday at 11:00 am it came,

The race is postponed due to weather. We will update you as soon as we can.

At this point, I was upset because if the race was rescheduled I probably wouldn’t be able to go.  I was also upset because it appeared that the weather was not the problem.

So, I sent this email knowing that there are usually no refunds on races,

Considering the emails I received earlier this week and that the weather forecast for race time tomorrow is 50 degrees and cloudy, I’m having a difficult time believing that the weather is the problem.  If the race is not held tomorrow, I would like a refund.

I didn’t expect a refund.  I didn’t even expect a reply, but it came,

The team that decided to cancel removed me from any control of the race. Please contact  ******@gmail.com about your refund.

Sorry for the confusion. Please understand that we at **** corp no longer have any say about the way ***** *** Dash will use their funds.

At this point, I am expecting nothing.  I am not expecting the race to be rescheduled and I am not expecting a refund.  I suspect that my money has already been spent on something else other than the race and that it is gone.  So be it.

What’s the lesson?  Sponsorship.  This race did not have any corporate sponsorship to speak of.  Even the small races that I’ve done have had local businesses supporting them in some way.  Whether it be financially or by providing some kind of goods or service, they were supported by local businesses and those business names were prominently displayed on the race website, t-shirts, e-mails, etc.  These businesses provide the support and accountability to make sure the show goes on.  Otherwise, it may not.

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.  Colossians 3:12-13</i>

Water, Weight, and Couch to 5K

Yeah!  Spring is officially here.  For me, the unofficial start of Spring is the beginning of daylight savings time; but now it’s official.  It’s been a cold, gray winter and so far a cool, gray spring.  I’m ready for some sunshine!  I’m ready for warm weather, green grass, and open windows.

My local community center has decided to do a spring Couch to 5K program.  This is an abbreviated version where we’ll be meeting twice a week for eight weeks.  This means we’ll have one day a week where we’ll need to do the program on our own.  You’d think that I’d eventually graduate from this program, but I haven’t yet.  I don’t know why on rough days it’s easy to text your friends and tell them that you’re not going to make it for your scheduled run, but if I’m signed up for a program like Couch to 5K, there’s nothing that will keep me from showing up.

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For now I’m still planning on keeping up with my other runs as well as the Couch to 5K.  We’ll play it by ear and see how it goes.  Four nights a week is a lot to commit to and may not be very realistic once the distances increase with the Couch to 5K program.

We’ve all heard the debate about whether or not to weigh every day.  I’ve weighed myself every day (or at least most days) for quite some time.  I’ve continued to do it because I’ve read over and over that people that weigh every day lose more weight.  Since the scales haven’t been moving in the direction I would like I decided to take a break from weighing myself every day.  When I stepped back on the scale for the first time in several days, I did not like what I saw.  It was ugly.  So, I’ve gone back to weighing every day.  It certainly seems to help keep me on track.

As I wrote in a previous post, I unintentionally took some time off from juicing.  In February I tried Jason Vale’s Super Blend Me! program for 10 days.  It was ok, but for me it definitely is not a substitute for juicing.  For a few weeks, I made some juice and had a juice a day.  I’ve decided for at least the rest of this month to go back to the 5:2 plan.  Five days of eating and two days of juicing.  The 5:2 plan keeps me feeling my best.

During the summer and warmer months, I naturally get thirsty and drinking plenty of water is not a problem.  In the winter and cooler months it is difficult for me to drink the proper amount of water.  I came up with the simple solution of setting alarms on my Fitbit to remind me to drink water.  My Fitbit is always on my wrist and vibrates for each alarm.  The alarms are virtually impossible to ignore yet won’t bother other people.  My first alarm goes off at 8:00 am, and the following alarms are set to go off every two hours until 10:00 pm.  At every alarm, I drink a 16 ounce glass of water.

If I drink a glass of water at every alarm, it comes to 128 ounces or 1 gallon of water a day.  However, there are times that I’m not home or in the car driving and know it’s not going to be a good time to be drinking a lot of water that’s going to cause me to go looking for a restroom.  So, I’ve set more alarms than necessary so that I will drink water at most of them and be properly hydrated.  This has been working great, and I know I’m drinking a lot more water than I would otherwise.

Do you have difficulty drinking enough water on a daily basis?  What is your trick to keeping properly hydrated?

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”  John 4:13-14.

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

Blending/Smoothies

In February I tried Jason Vale’s Super Blend Me! program.  This is a new program Jason Vale has put together.  As the name implies, it is a blending (think smoothie) program versus a juicing program.  All you really need is a blender, which it seems most people own.

There is a book available along with the app.  At the time I tried it, the book was not yet available in the US, and the app was only available on Apple products.  However, the book is now available in the US along with the Android app.  Whether or not you buy the book, the app is well worth it.  It has videos and recipes for each blend, along with the ability to make a shopping list for any or as many days as you’d like.

I liked that a lot of the blends could be prepped ahead of time.  The ones that could, I put in baggies, labeled, and put in the freezer.  On the label I wrote the name and anything that needed to be added to the blend.  Most of the blends in this program have a protein added to them whether it be a protein powder or some type of nut butter.  The protein and the liquid (usually a nut milk or coconut water) I added at the time I did the blending.

The blends are super convenient.  I was able to make all of them in the cup blender of my Ninja.  The ones that I didn’t prepare ahead of time only had a two or three ingredients, so all I had to do was put them in the blender and go.  The ones that I prepared ahead of time also only took a few minutes because all I had to do was empty the bag of frozen food into the blender cup, add a thing or two, blend, and go.  I also used a lot of frozen fruit over fresh, so that in itself made the blends very convenient.  Since I was using frozen fruit, I did not add ice to the blends.

These blends are heavy on fruit, so if you’re looking for a way to get more fruit into your body, this will do it.  I recently read that people that are cold all of the time often are so because they do not eat enough citrus fruit.  After doing the program for ten days, I noticed that I was no longer having that cold feeling.  It has made enough of a believer out of me that I have continued to eat an orange everyday with my lunch.

However, I have decided that this program is not for me.  I did lose a few pounds, but I did not get that boost of energy and all around great feeling that I get from juicing.  I’m glad that I did it and gave it a whirl.  I’m also glad I have the app and the recipes.  They were all delicious, and I’m sure I will have one now and then.  In fact, my plan is to prep a few and put them in freezer bags in the freezer so that they’re ready to go.  There are also some other recipes within the app for protein balls that I would like to try.

Do I recommend this program?  Absolutely.  I realize that we’re all different and what works for me may not work for you and vise versa.  If your diet could use some better quality food and this is what it takes for you to get it, then go for it.  If this is what it takes to get you to make the first step towards eating more plants, it’s worth a try.  If these blends are too much fruit for you, you could try making them with a little less fruit and more greens.  Make it your plan, your way.

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

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

Running: The No-Equipment Sport

One thing that attracted me to running was that it was a low investment sport monetarily speaking.  It was nice to think that I didn’t have to go out and spend money on equipment or a gym membership, nor did I have to have a place to store said equipment.  The only thing I needed to get started, so I thought, was a good pair of shoes.  I had already discovered my pronation problem with my feet and invested in good shoes and orthodics, so I was ready to rock and roll.

My daughter came up with the idea that we should run a 5K a month.  I decided to go along with that.  Then she decided that we had to wear tutus, so that was my first investment.  Then there was the ever important armband or belt to carry your phone in, and let’s not forget earbuds for listening.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that there is an entire market out there targeted towards runners.  The first thing that I was told was that “cotton is rotton” and that I was wearing the wrong socks.  I didn’t care.  I liked my socks.  I also had old, cotton t-shirts that I wore to run in.  It was summer, it was hot, I was fine.

Then it got so hot that the sweat would run into my eyes and I couldn’t see a thing.  I got a headband for my birthday, and later ended up buying another one to help keep the sweat out of my eyes.  Then I came across these cooling towels to help keep you cool in the extreme heat.  Yip, I had to have one of those too!

Then Fall came and it started to cool off.  I needed longer pants to keep warm and a jacket.

Then Winter came along.  Not only did we have to deal with the temperatures, we also had to deal with the fact that we were running in the dark most of the time.  For warmth, I now needed long sleeved shirts to wear under my jacket, ear muffs, gloves, and a face warmer.  After tripping and falling in the dark a few times (once I fell on my phone), I decided I needed a light.  I found a very bright LED light that I love.  It was not cheap, but it was a lot cheaper than a new phone.

I invested in a reflective vest.  I was so excited when the package came.  I opened it up, adjusted the straps, and put it on.  My husband walked into the room and said, “What did you do, get a job pushing carts at Stuff Mart?”  My daughter’s friends that live across the street thought that I was a school crossing guard.

Now, I have a whole bag of running gear.  It hangs in the coat closet and I pull it out every time I go running.  The small stuff, like my earbuds and my light go in a small pencil bag so I don’t have to dig around and find them.  Everything else is just thrown in and pretty easy to find.  So much for my little sport that doesn’t require any equipment.

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  Ephesians 6:11