Heart and Sole 5k

On Saturday, May 6, my oldest daughter and I (and a few other friends) ran the Tri County Heart and Sole 5K.  This race benefits local children with mental health issues.

Last year, this race was my first race of 2016 and the second race of my life.  I had taken the winter off and was just starting to get back into running again.  Not only was it wet and rainy the morning of the race, we had had torrential downpours a few days before.  There were patches where the trail was covered in one inch deep mud.  I had never ran the race route before, so I had no idea what to expect.

This year was completely different.  It was sunny and warm the morning of race day.  We had not had a lot of rain beforehand, so the trail was dry and clean.  My daughter and I had gone out a few times before the race and ran the course, so we knew what to expect.  Also, we did not take the winter off.  In essence, we were much more prepared this year.

This was not just a race, it was an event!  Before the race, there was a Zumba warm up by my favorite Zumba instructor, Shertoine.

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After singing the Star Spangled Banner, it was off to the race where we had great trail support!  This is the stuff that makes you smile and run a little harder.  Thank you to whoever got up early to do all of this!

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Then it was time for the kids fun dash.  My granddaughter ran her first race and got her first finisher’s medal!

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After that, we got to test drive this awesome vehicle!  (Wishful thinking.)

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Vroom, vroom!

 This was a fun morning with family and friends.  Like I said, this was not just a race, but an event–all for a great cause.

Indeed, may you see your children’s children.  Psalm 128:6a

Cinderella Runs Her First 5K

Well, official 5K, anyway.  Last year I signed Cinderella up for a one mile fun run.  The only problem was that instead of turning around at the one mile point, she kept going and ended up running the entire 5K.

On April 1, I ran the Tortoise and Hare 5K with both of my daughters!  My youngest has been asking me to sign her up for a 5K.  I didn’t think she was ready for it and told her that she needed to do some running beforehand.  This race had a reduced price for children, so I didn’t mind signing her up.

I was only able to get her to run with me one time before the race, and it wasn’t pretty.  Two days before the race, she realized the race was around the corner and it was too late for training.  She was starting to feel like she had a mountain to climb and was not at all prepared for it.

The morning started out as many days have this past winter and spring–cloudy and overcast.  This was one of the more casual races we’ve run.  We had bibs and prizes were given out for the best in each age group, but this race was not timed.

When the gun went off, I wasn’t quite ready and everyone took off like it was the Kentucky Derby.  I knew I couldn’t sustain that pace, so I backed off a little.  I was concerned about Cinderella not knowing where to go, so I decided I would stay with her no matter what.  Before we got to the one mile mark, she was complaining.

During mile two, she said she was never running another 5K again.  After that, we went into run/walk mode.  We would run until she tired out, then we would walk until she caught her breath and we could run again.

We were nearing mile three when Cinderella told me to go on and that she would walk the rest of the way.  By now, we had gotten to the point that the people that were participating in the two mile walk were close behind us.  We were close to the finish line, but she didn’t know it because there was a curve in the road right before the finish line.

We couldn’t see the finish line, but I could see part of the building that we had started in front of.  I said, “We’re almost there.  Do you see that building?  That’s where we started.”

We continued to walk, until we made it around the curve and could see the finish line.  I told Cinderella that we were going to sprint across.  I found a landmark and said, “When we get to that sign, we’re going to run as fast as we can.”  A few seconds later, I grabbed her hand, and I drug her across the finish line. Finishing with her was a great feeling!

305 lbs. The Phone Call That was Never Made

I went into my second day of work with one hour of sleep under my belt.  Shortly after my phone call with Mr. G., he sent me a text reiterating everything he had said to me on the phone.  I kept reminding myself that hurting people hurt people.  I could not imagine how this whole experience of the past several months must’ve been for Mr. G.  Three hours later I got another text taking back some of what he had said–mostly anything that could be considered slander against his former employer.  He did not take back anything hateful he said about me personally.

I was devastated and had no idea how I was going to make it through the day.  Unfortunately, I had about a 20 minute drive to work, which was just enough time to think about the events of the night before.  I walked in the door sniffling, and my boss, Mr K., asked me if I had a cold coming on.

Once I got situated, I went into Mr. K.’s office and gave him a Reader’s Digest version of what had happened the night before.  I told him that I thought it would be a good idea if the number on the phone was changed since a lot of the drivers and probably Mr. G.’s friends already had it pre-programmed into their phones.  Mr. K. called Charles about the matter and I heard, “. . . she’s very upset about the way Mr. G. treated her.”

Before the day was even over, I got a text from one of Mr. G’s friends.  I ignored it.  Mr. K. and I went online and tried to change the number, but we were not allowed access.  I stopped by the cell phone store on the way home and tried to get the number changed.  I personally was not listed on the account, so I was not able to do so.

I went home that evening physically and emotionally exhausted.  I had huge doubts about accepting this job, and a very bad feeling about it once I did accept it.  Was this what the bad feelings were all about?

I was concerned about it being a strain on the family.  I knew we could make it through the summer, but my main concern was the fall once school started.  We would have to make some huge changes to our homeschool.  Every negative concern that I had about taking the position, my husband had a solution for.  I reluctantly accepted the job after he convinced me that we could “make it work.”  Moments after I called Charles and accepted the job, my husband walked in the front door and said, “I think maybe it would be better if you just stayed home.”  I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.  I told him if I wasn’t going to take the job that I needed to call Charles back right that moment and tell him.  That phone call was never made, and at this moment I was truly regretting it.

A friend loves at all times . . .  Proverbs 17:17a

Time, Energy, Hate, and Anger

As I get older, my time becomes more and more valuable.  I know my days, and therefore my time, on this earth are numbered.  I know that the time I have left on this earth is limited, limiting the time I have for accomplishments and spending time with my family.  I also know that at this point I am on the downhill slope, meaning that most likely more than half my time on this earth is behind me.

I also know that the amount of energy I have is limited.  I have been able to boost my energy level by changing my diet and exercising, but it’s still finite.  Most days my energy bank is full, and I can make it through without any problems.  Some days my energy bank is running on empty, and I have to make adjustments to make it through the day.

My energy has also become a valuable commodity and something that I have decided to spend carefully.  Continuing to eat a healthy diet and to exercise almost daily is something I continue because it’s like earning interest on your investment.  I might be spending some energy to do it, but it’s going to pay me back with more energy.

Just like the money I have in my pocket, I decided a long time ago that there are things I refuse to spend my energy on.  I refuse to spend my energy on hate and anger directed at other people.  Sometimes it’s a difficult thing to do, but I remind myself that it’s not worth it and what other people do is out of my control.  It’s natural to want to defend ourselves when we’re being attacked.  Often, the better course of action is to remove ourself from the situation than to spend our time and energy yelling back at someone that’s not even listening to us anyway.

Hate.  It’s just an ugly word all the way around.  Spending time and energy hating people is not a wise expenditure.  I’d much rather spend my time on actions that are going to make a difference than on inaction that is just going to wear me out.  The one thing we don’t hate enough is sin.  We would be different people and live in a completely different world if we hated sin enough to steer clear of it.

With the idea of reaping what we sow; hate, and you most likely will receive hate in return.  Love, and you most likely will receive love in return.

“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.”  Rom 12:20 NASB

305 lbs. Family Time

It felt great to finish the Couch to 5K program and to run my first 5K.  The last thing I wanted to do at this point was to lose any progress I had made during the summer.  I continued to try to run three miles three days a week from home.  Once daylight savings time went into effect this became very difficult.  Not only was there less daylight everyday, the weather was not very cooperative either.  Once the leaves started falling and they became wet, it was very treacherous going.  Running at night and not being able to see made it even more dangerous.

October also brought my first grandchild!  Prior to that my pregnant daughter ended up in the hospital in the middle of the night with the flu.  I had to enter the hospital at the emergency room and then go down to the maternity ward which is at the other end of the hospital.  I was told it was half a mile.  I ran it (literally) without any problems–something I couldn’t have done that long ago.

My good friend and cheerleader, Mr. G., told me one day that I was an inspiration to him.  He bought a membership to a community center near him for his entire family and was going there almost daily to work out.  I was a bit dumbfounded and asked, “How did I inspire you?”  “By all of those texts you sent me telling me to get up off my a**,” He said.  In shock I said, “I never sent such texts.”  His reply was, “That’s how I felt every time you told me you were running.”  I never knew that my texts were perceived that way.  When I was working, I was on call 24/7.  I felt it a responsibility to let him know when I was running on the days I worked in case someone tried to get a hold of me and couldn’t.

In the middle of December I got a phone call from Mr. G., “I’ve lost 15 pounds!”  I had not, so feelings of jealousy and unkind thoughts were what went through my head.  I felt like it was my turn to be the cheerleader, so in a cheerful voice I said, “Way to go, congratulations!”

Once Thanksgiving got here, running was almost impossible.  There would be a day here and there that I could run, but nothing consistent.  I also needed to support my daughter and her husband who were first-time parents, so I let family life take over.

The community center where I took classes also changed their fee structure.  Initially you could sign up for classes and just pay to go to those classes.  Now, you were required to have a membership and all classes were included in your membership fee.  I wasn’t sure that I was willing to pay for a membership just yet.  I really, really loved running, so I really only needed a membership during the winter months that I was not able to run outside.

I knew the Commit to Get Fit program would be starting again in January, so I decided to hold out until then.  I didn’t think I would get my money’s worth out of a full-year membership, so I decided to enjoy the time I had with my family until then.

Feeling Fabulous

I wrote in a previous post how this past summer had been a stressful one.  I think most of the time we don’t realize how detrimental stress is to our health.

I spent the summer (starting in May, actually) working a part-time job away from home.  I had worked this same job from home for three years.  The company I worked for was sold, and the new owners would not allow me to work from home.  This meant a lot of changes for our household.

Just being absent from home two days out of the week meant that I had seven days of home management to cram into five.  I came up with a schedule of how to get everything done.  It was tough and often meant running late at night.

Still, there were some things that were unavoidable with my absence.  The biggest of these was missing family time with my children and grandchildren.

And then, there was my health.  I spent the summer losing two pounds, gaining two pounds, losing two pounds, and gaining two pounds.  I was not able to exercise as often or at optimal times.  Often, I was running later at night which meant trouble sleeping that night.  There were times that I just didn’t feel up to par or felt that I was not getting the nutrients my body needed.  My last visit to the dentist started out with, “Have you been clenching your teeth again?”

However, it was not a total loss.  I was forced to find more efficient ways to do things around the house.  I found an awesome system for our homeschool that is working fabulously for us.  I also had to figure out how to prepare salads in a jar and other snacks that I could take on the run.

I had absolutely no complaints about my job or the people I worked with.  In fact, it was easy money.  Still, I had to let it go.  It was not something I wanted to do.  The extra income was nice.  I loved the people and the industry I worked in.  However, it was not worth the stress it was causing at home and the time I was missing with my family.

My last day of work was November 26, and I’m already enjoying the benefits.  My home is more relaxed and less stressful, I’m spending more time with my children and grandchildren, I’m running or going to the gym six days a week, I’m drinking lots of juice, the needle on the scale is steadily going down, and I feel fabulous!

“Mom, you’re not old,

you’re only 58!” said my 8 year old to her 49 year old mother.

Learning How to Learn

 

Another Reason to #Homeschool: The Love of Learning

Education - Abu Dhabi NY University.
(Photo credit: Luca Barcellona – Calligraphy & Lettering Arts)

In general, home educators try to give their children a well-rounded education.  This can be done by teaching various subjects, going on various field trips, etc.  At the top of our list, is reading.  If a person can read, they can learn anything.  Underneath it all, I want my kids to love learning and have the desire to continue to learn throughout their lifetime. Without the love of learning, there will be no desire to do so. Without the desire to learn, one will never become a mature christian.

Unfortunately, our government schools don’t always foster this love for learning. Some of the local schools here have begun requiring homework for kindergartners. I can’t help but wonder what they do in class all day if they are now sending homework home. Those that appear to be bright are encouraged to go through testing to determine whether or not they qualify for the “gifted” program. The kids and parents are put under a lot of pressure by the school officials and told that this is a big deal. If the child misses qualifying by a few points, they are pressured to take the test again.

This is done all at the age of 5 or 6, and for many it is their first experience in a school environment. Why would any of these kids want to go back to school? Why would any of them have a positive impression of learning?

Thankfully with home education this can all be avoided. Children can be encouraged to learn at their own pace. Each student can have their own specialized program tailored just for them and not worry about being in special ed, the gifted program, or anything else. They are accepted as the beautiful individual God created them to be, while being stretched and pushed a little by their teacher who knows them better than anyone else in the world. They can actually enjoy learning and develop a desire to learn throughout their lifetime. With that, the possibilities are endless.

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Remembering a Dear Friend with Handicrafts

I like making these trivets as wedding gifts.  They are quick, easy, beautiful, and will last longer than many marriages.  Many couples register online anymore, which makes it a snap to go online and see what dishes they select.  Using that information, I can choose the two complimentary colors for the trivets.  So far, they have always been received well.

Under the guise of “there is nothing new under the sun,” I have a dear friend that showed me how to make these years ago.  Whenever I make these, I can’t help but fondly think of her.  We had a rift at one time but were able to patch things up.  I was blessed to be able to serve her and her family in her last days as she was battling cancer.  It does my soul good to know that all was well between the two of us when she passed.  That experience has made me more conscious and more deliberate of mending fences or at least doing everything I can to mend fences as misunderstandings occur.

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These days, handicrafts are more of a hobby than anything else.  Still, they are great skills to teach in your homeschool.  They can lead to inexpensive gifts, a customized cover or case for that gadget, or even a home business.  Who knows, it may one day become a family heirloom.