Thursday, October 17, 2013

Just Run...

In three days I run my first half-marathon.  13.1 miles.  Yeow.

Tomorrow will be my last run before the race and will wrap up 20 weeks of training.  t-w-e-n-t-y.  Our base mileage was crap to start with so that's why we did a 20-week plan.  Four years ago I trained for one, and then ended up pregnant and barfing weeks before the race so I was unable to run it.  My good friend and running partner, Billie had to run it by herself. You can read about it here if you'd like.

Apparently it took 4 years for me to be willing to do it again.  And to talk Billie into it.  She joked about making me sign a contact saying I wouldn't get pregnant.  I promised, and I'd like to go on record as saying I held up my end of the deal. Awesome.

We trained so well.  So much better than last time.  I'm not sure why, but it was just better.  Our pace was faster, our endurance stronger, even our attitude was better.  I learned that I can run on my own.  Our schedules this Summer and Fall didn't match and so it forced me out there alone.  And that was good.  Very good.

Until September anyway, when Billie injured a muscle in her leg.  For a few weeks we held out hope that she would still be able to run/walk it.  But eventually denial gives way to truth.  And you have a good cry and then suck it up, and realize you can and will do things on your own.  I'm a big girl now. (did you sing it to the pull-up's commercial tune? Oh I hope so)

On long runs, I wrote some really moving and meaningful posts about running. They never actually made it to the computer, because the rest of my life gets in the way.  Which means:  I didn't make time for it.

But sitting here, three days out from the longest I've ever run in my entire life AND my first big race, there's some things I want to remember.  My future may or may not hold more half-mary's, but one thing is certain.  I only have a "first one" once.    
  • Running is a head game.  You train your body, and slowly and steadily it responds.  The brain is much harder to train.  It's hard-wired for comfort. Every time I run I have to re-direct my thoughts to "stop running this is such a dumb idea" to "you can and will do this and you are not going to die."
  • It has made me stronger physically, but it has also made me stronger mentally and emotionally.  It has helped put fear in perspective.  Because if I can run for two hours straight I can most certainly handle dealing with un-lovely people, amen?  
  • Running for me is always directly linked to spiritual things.  Every step and breath comes from my creator.  To get stronger physically, I must endure painful, painful training.  Some runs feel amazing, and others are miserable, and each teaches me something.  If I want a closer walk with God, I must go after it.  Commit.  And if I want to be more like Him, then it's gonna take some painful training. Painful endurance.  I do not get to be a spiritual giant if I'm unwilling to be trained.
  • This past year, outside of running, I have felt pushed passed my limits by people.  On long runs, when I was pushing past miles that I previously thought impossible God whispered you can endure. Not on my own, but because of Him, I can.
  • Runner's know that the person you compete against is yourself.  I'm not comparing myself to other runners, I'm comparing myself against my Nike gps watch.  That's what I love about it.  We all get to push and encourage and strive to be better.  We get to cheer each other on and celebrate victories.  We make light of the bad runs because they happen to everyone and anticipate the next run will be better.  Shake it off, get back up.  Runners know how to tolerate pain and being uncomfortable, because it's the very definition of running.  They are strong.  They are not whiners.  And I without a doubt wish more of us Christians acted like runners.  
  • After about 8 miles of running I start dreaming of how good the ice bath will feel.
  • One of my favorite running songs has been "Overcomer" by Mandisa. It has found a constant loop for many, many miles.  You're an overcomer.  Stay in the fight till the final round.  You're not going under, because God is holding you right now.    Don't quit, don't give in.

  • I am dreading the porta potty's.  Like more than I'm dreading 13.1 miles.
  • I must stick to my training plan.  Go out s-l-o-w.  Fuel often, and soak it in.  The end.
  • Also, my friends and family have graciously endured months and months of running talk.  They are awesome.  
So.  Next post = Race Recap. Hooray!  Hopefully...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Birth Story Eleven Years Old

My middlest child turns 11 today.  This morning I dug out his baby photo albums, like I do on all their birthdays, and reminisced.  

About how time flies and goes slow all at the same time.  About how young, and naive Ben and I looked in the pictures.  About how 2002 was indeed the year of the overalls, every person in every picture is sporting a pair.

Eli was not "planned" by us.  His older brother was just 6 months old when we found out I was pregnant.  We lived a state away from our family, Ben was still in seminary, money was tight, schedules were tight, and I was not ready to go through the whole pregnancy and delivery thing again just yet.

As my three year old Lucy would say:  I freaked out.

I cried for two weeks.  I simply could not see any way that this was going to work out well.  This was not in my plan.  Only things I could handle were in my plan.  Hello self pity.

I remember being completely annoyed with my husband for not freaking out.  "It will be fine!"  "It's in God's plan!" should have brought comfort...but his blind faith seemed to just annoy me.  Certainly, he only was only being positive because he wasn't considering all the implications (for me) that were involved. Hello self pity.  Again.

I was embarrassed to tell people our news.  I mean, what kind of *idiots* have another baby when they already have a baby!  Us.  That's who.

I could write a thousand pages on the ways, big and itty bitty that God worked out the details for every. single. thing.  God showed me that from where I was, looked pretty impossible.  But my view was so tiny, and so limited and so...wrong.  

Whenever I start feeling overwhelmed in a life situation, I've often take my heart back to those early days of finding out I was pregnant.  Because I remember that hopeless feeling.  That overwhelmed feeling.  That hard place.  And now I know, what I didn't really know then...that if I really want to see how big my God is, then I need to look at the impossible things with anticipation.  Because the impossible is right where God works.  And sometimes the hard, impossible stuff, is the best stuff.  Eli was meant to be, and his timing was not wrong...mine was.  He was and everyday is an incredible, amazing gift to our family.  We are not us, without him.  

I'll never forget September 27, 2002. (who doesn't love a  birth story?)

I had gone into my Dr. in the morning, in was a Friday just like today.  She stripped my membranes and said if I didn't go into labor on my own then I was scheduled to be induced on Monday.  I was cool with the Monday thing.  Mostly because then I was sure to get my epidural in time.  (My then 16 month old had been almost 10 way I was doing that without drugs.)

The rest of the day went on as usual.  By early evening I started noticing some contractions, and started writing them down...but it didn't seem like "real" labor.  Ben worked until early evenings, so I talked to him around 7ish and asked if he would bring home a take-n-bake pizza.   

At some point the contractions must have gotten close enough together that I called the hospital just to see what they thought.  I remember the nurse saying to just take a warm bath, that it would help me relax and likely stop the contractions.  

Turns out the bath made them worse.  Much worse.  Ben got home and somehow managed to bake the pizza and eat while I got dressed.  My Aunt and Uncle were planning on keeping Noah for us while we were at the hospital.  The hospital was a half hour away from us, so the plan was for them to meet at our apartment to get him.  That night, it just so happened that they were with their family at the circus.  Ha.  They left the circus and met us at our apartment.  I could only walk in between contractions.  I remember the elevator ride in our apartment building seemed like it lasted I had never experienced full fledged contractions before. 

It felt like a scene from a movie.  Ben drove like a crazy man to the hospital and I remember yelling at him not to do that, and then yelling at him to hurry up and get there.  He couldn't win.

He wheeled me inside and tried to find someone to get me where I needed to be.  It felt like it took days, but it was probably only 10 minutes.  They put me in an exam room to check me.  I kept telling them to call the anestesiologist, because I knew that it sometimes took them awhile to get there.  

The nurse checked me and said she had good news and bad news.  The "good" news was that I was fully dilated, and the baby was coming.  The bad news was no epidural.  

I wanted to die.  I am and never was one who thought experiencing child-birth without drugs seemed like a good idea.  Ever.  

They rushed me to the delivery room, and literally held the Eli's head in until the Dr. could get the scrubs on.  They kept saying "Don't push!" Yeah right.  My body was pushing all on it's own.

And Eli was born!  We had arrived at the hospital at 11:00 PM and he was born at 11:39 PM.  It was a blur.  We didn't know if we should call people and tell them the news, since it was so late.  I think we called our parents and then waited until morning to make the rest of the calls.

And just like that he was here.  And I, in fact, did survive without an epidural. But that was the last time I did it the "natural" way...I'll take the needle in my back any day.  ;)

Story Break:  I finished this part of my post on Friday the 27th, Eli's birthday.  I didn't hit publish before heading out to meet a friend for coffee.  During coffee, my oldest called from school with the flu.  By the time I got to the school, it had hit me too.  And by evening, my husband was knocked out with it too.  So Eli spent his 11th birthday with a bunch of sickies.  And in genuine Eli style, he took it all in stride.  Laid-back, no big deal, roll with the punches.  I love that kid.  I have so much to learn from him. So, it is now October 3rd, and I'm hitting publish.  

 Happy Birthday Buddy! Love you!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

And She's Off...

Dear Lucy,

You had your first day of three year old preschool...almost two weeks ago.  I would have gotten to this post sooner, but you require a lot of energy to keep up with. Cleaning-up after you is literally my full-time job.  I know it means you're all kinds of genius.  

You had been so excited to go.  You even let me talk you into wearing the new bird dress...which is a feat for me.  You are highly opinionated on your fashion choices, a characteristic we both know comes from me.  Now, not only do I have to continue to harness my own will, but yours...and ours.  Tricky stuff.

You wanted me to stay with you.  No tears were shed though...just a stubborn expression on your sweet little face.  Your teacher knew just how to distract you so I could slip out.  And you were fine.  And I was fine.

She said you were her shadow, and she knew you were trying to figure out if you liked that place or not.  And you did like it. So very much. 

"I'm a big girl"  you keep telling me.  And I smile, because you are kind of a tiny old-soul in a little body with a blonde bob.  And I love you.

My prayer for you, my sweet little lulu, is that you allow God to use that independent spirit for His glory.   



And this is the one where your brother photo-bombed.  Typical day.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Pick Theme Songs...

Rend Collective had been one of my new favorites this summer.  It's on about every play list I have.  It's helped me kick it in on the last mile of since June.  (I'm on week 12 of half-marathon training, so it's a lot of running. More on that laterish)

And now I've adopted it as my official theme song for the year.  For me, my family, our name it.

I also now feel the need to take up the tambourine.  And I have some boys that would be happy to play the thing that guy is pounding on the ground. I'm not quite sure our church is ready for that.  We'll just practice in secret for now.

 And Ben is most definitely getting a bow tie this fall.  

Packed full of so much truth.  It really is my heart wrapped up in a song written by people much cooler than I.  

That is why music is so darn cool.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

It's Good...

It's the first day of school here in tiny town.  You can't see me, but if you could:  I can't stop smiling.  And clapping and jumping up and down.

The kids were pretty happy too.  The truth is, we all know we need some structure and routine that involves more than annoying each other and Mincecraft.

Sixth. Fifth. Second.  

And Little Miss Lu will start 3 year old preschool on Friday.  

Maybe I should be sadder than I am.  But this stage in parenting is pretty neat.  And fairly enjoyable.  And while I'm sure the hardest years are still ahead of us (hello puberty)...the years are meant to come.  These kiddos are meant to grow and live life.  I mean, I'm sure I was a pretty rad 12 year old, but I'm pretty dang glad to have not stayed there.  So are my parents.

It's a gift to watch them grow.  It's a gift I'm not guaranteed or promised.  So, with each moment they grow, I'm going to embrace it the best I can.  And pray like crazy for God's grace to cover and fill and seep into every nook and cranny of all our lives.

And celebrate it with a venti iced caramel macchiato.  And two cake-pops.


And for the record:  I was a total rock-star mom today.  Got up early, made a healthy breakfast, remembered the First Day Photo shoot.  If only I could bottle me up to use again tomorrow...because it's likely that version of myself only shows up on First Days.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Introverted Complications...

It turns out...that people who blog once a month are totally boring.  "Someone" needs to get with the program.  

This morning I scheduled all the kids doctor, dentist and eye appointments they need before going back to school.  I bought Jake a new backpack yesterday while I was at Target.  (I'm not sure the kid has had a new backpack ever) And some new socks.  Is it only July 16th?  Yes, yes it is.  Am I one of those moms who already wants to send her kids back to school?  


I kinda do.  

Or I need a vacation.  An alone vacation where I don't have to pick up after anyone or talk to anyone or listen to anyone

I need a break from the talkie.  Does anyone else need a break from the incessant talking?  There must be a support group or something...the "I Wish People Would Shut Up" club.  Kidding.  A little bit.

I can't seem to get away from people this summer.  You introverts will totally get what I'm saying...and you extroverts will think I'm being rude.  Ha.  I love people, I do.  But without regular breaks from them, I'm left depleted.  The tricky part is trying to figure out how to get a break without hurting peoples feelings...because there's lots of people and lots of needs.  

So in real life I'm hiding out for a bit.  Just a little bit.  And then I can like people again.  I just heard all the introverts say Amen.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013



1. listening: To my washing machine, because it                           is 8:23 and all my children are still asleep.  Thank you Jesus.
2.  eating:  Black coffee.  It counts.
3.  drinking: Black coffee.
4. wearing: bermudas, blue v-neck, gray cardi & glasses.  Neither of which I wore yesterday or slept in so I call that a Summer Success.
5.  feeling:  Laid-back & caught-up.  
6. weather: Blue skies and a nice breeze and the humidity is pretty perfect today.  Iowa had redeemed itself.
7. wanting:  to paint the living room & office.  White.  It's happening this weekend.  Boo yah.  
8. needing:  to buy the boys shoes to wear to my nephew's wedding next weekend.  
9. thinking:  A lot of life happens in one little day.  
10. enjoying:   The quiet.  This post is finished and my kids are still sleeping.  Even the dog is still sleeping.  Best Day Ever.