Monthly Archives: April 2018

Characters in a story still being Written

She looks like Sandra Bullock. Dark hair, strong, pretty, intense. 

I made a friend at church back in 2007 or so. She was a home school mom like me, but unlike me, her oldest three were adopted.  We hit it off.  We hung out.  Her older kids were now in public school, but she still seemed like a homeschool mom to me. We enjoyed each other’s company and  shared our lives, difficult as they were and still are. She unexpectedly became pregnant after years of trying,  not once, but twice, when things in her life were precarious. Being the tough and faithful woman she was, she determined to make the best of things and did it with style. A foodie and traveler,  maybe a hipster before her time, she liked the good things in life and taught her children the same. Her husband’s income as a coach and teacher was barely sufficient but they made it work.

She introduced me to Kay Arthur’s Precepts Bible study and invited me to go to Dallas to an all day event where we learned how to study in this particular method. This was pretty big for me at this time when I was still coming out of my fearful shell , to go out of town with someone and go to a conference.  I had a lot of anxiety but something made me do it anyway. I learned a lot and had a good time, but I remember being so nervous.

Then , or maybe before, I can’t remember the timeline exactly, she suggested we go to go to a certain Bible study class that was not at our church, but a non-denominational, weekly , 2 hour class , with homework, that lasted the whole school year. I’d never heard of it, Community Bible Study. But she easily convinced me that it was a great organization and I finally said I’d go. This was also huge for me. A big commitment! My children were going  to attend also, two in a nursery class and two in older kids’ classes, because they had classes for homeschooled children up to 12th grade. It makes me tear up just thinking about this. How terrified and full of fear I was! What was I afraid of? Not God . Not the Bible. People. I was afraid they wouldn’t like me, accept me, want me to be part of the group. And would my kids be okay? I was a very protective mother. So worried that my kids would 1)be unhappy and cry and 2) not behave and embarrass me. They did both, but I kept going. I missed some days. In fact I have missed a lot of days over the years due to my kids, but God keeps drawing me back.

My friend and her family moved away. Not too far, but far enough that we only communicate on social media. Her older kids and my oldest son spent some important years together growing up and are still friends. That story is still being written. Relationships have been formed and harmed,  feelings hurt, confusion and chaos has reared it’s youthful head at times,  babies have been born, people have gone into and out of jail,  memories made,  and life marches on. And my friend and I pray and trust God.

Now it is 2018. I was doing some estrogen-fueled cleaning today and decided to gather up the scattered workbooks from my years of Community Bible study. Sadly I think I may have thrown away a few books, but I found quite a collection. In the front of each one we write our names, our core group leader’s name and the school year. With a building wave of emotion I opened each books to check the dates. The oldest book I have is the year 2008-9. Ten years. Ten years of studying God’s word with wonderful godly women. It has made a huge impact on my life. I thank you, friend, for inviting me to Community Bible Study. God used you in a big and important way.  You will always be special to me,  you and your family. Storing up treasures in heaven. Bless you, sister.

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Why I didn’t run today

4:00 AM: Not my usual wake up time

Woken up by my husband who is getting ready for work and making way too much noise. I lay there needing to pee and finally get up and go. I get back in bed, then a thought pops into my head. Oh crap, I think I forgot to buy the baby carrots that he takes in his lunch every single week.  Thoughts of having to go to Walmart and wondering what else do I need to do when I go to town. Then I hear sounds that tell me he’s still in the kitchen so I stumble out of bed and go ask him if I indeed forgot to buy carrots.  No, he says,  you bought them. Oh , good, I think. Love you, bye, have a good day, I tell him. He heads off to his job where he works a 10 hour shift.

I check on my sleeping daughter’s breathing, then go back to my room. Now that I’m awake I know I’ll have trouble going back to sleep so I get my phone and put it on the Talk Ultra podcast. I listen to a female runner talk about how her body just fell apart after a couple really good years of racing multi-day races. Now she is going vegan and feels like she is  healing. She feels better than she has in a long time, she says. I vaguely consider the idea of giving up meat after being low carb-high fat, mostly Paleo, gluten free for the past seven years. I finally get sleepy and turn off my phone and fall asleep and have many crazy dreams.

8:30 am.  I start to wake up but I’m very groggy and don’t want to open my eyes. This is past my normal wake up time. I lie there drifting in and out of dreams. Finally my eyes pop open and I get out of bed. It’s on now. I will not stop moving until I hit the pillow tonight.

First things first. Pee, brush teeth. Glance at silenced phone. I have a text telling me that there is now less than $20 in my checking account. I sign in to my bank on my phone and transfer funds. I put on my robe and slippers , push power on the Keurig and go walk the dogs, text my husband and tell him that the yard looks nice since he mowed yesterday, bring the dogs back in and give them Milk bones. Then I get my 17 year old daughter’s formula and medications ready. I go change her diaper, dress her in clean clothes, suction her, check her oxygen level, then put her in her Vest so she can have a respiratory treatment. It will take 18 minutes. Back to the kitchen to make my one cup of  Light roast Breakfast Blend coffee with coconut milk and splenda  ( I ran out of stevia. ). I turn on my ancient, Ebay-seller refurbished Dell D630 laptop computer and log in and click on email. Nothing important in email.  I get a text  from a fellow SAHM friend asking where I am since I haven’t responded to her usual morning Messenger messages, so I reply to her. We commiserate about the burnout we have from so many years of being caregivers, household servants and unpaid sex goddesses to our husbands. But we both know we will continue , so we both get busy.

Grace’s treatment is finished so I lift her 60 pound, helpless body into her wheelchair, adjust her twisted spine so she is as comfortable as possible, smooth her unruly, thick hair out of her face and push her into the kitchen to connect her feeding tube and give her two seizure medications, plus cough medicine and a vitamin D supplement. I turn on the essential oil diffuser.

The boys, my two youngest sons,  are still sleeping. I start trying to wake them up. After several visits to their room, I finally issue a threat of no video games unless they get up. One of them stumbles out and makes himself some type of microwave food for breakfast then gets on the couch with a blanket and the dog. The other gets up a little later grabs cereal and goes back to his room. 

Meanwhile I do the dishes and put a load of clothes in the wash.  Eventually, I get my almost 13 year old son started on math and the 14 year old son goes outside and cuts down a dead tree with his new ax. He takes a video camera and a tripod to document the whole thing and is super proud of himself. I watch the video and give him genuine praise. He’s a good boy and very handy with the ax. At some point in this time period other school subjects were completed.  Then we start our Bible study. My son is anxious about his class this week so I attempt to reassure him and help him prepare for it. He and another boy will be teaching the class. We study 2 Timothy 3 and discuss how all Scripture is God-breathed, despite what some liberals say.

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I get hungry.

Lunch is my first meal of the day. I have the idea to make ‘zoodles’, spiralized zucchini noodles, new to me. I do it and show my son how it works. I saute them in coconut oil, add garlic, onion and pepperoni slice, then top it with Italian cheese. Pretty good! I get more laundry going and then get in a cleaning mood. They are doing schoolwork. Grace is sleeping. My 19 year old son is in his room playing video games since he doesn’t work today.

I decide to tackle a grubby zone that has evaded me for a couple months, a dog-hair covered junk pile on the floor in the laundry room. Feels great to have that area clean again! I also did more laundry and put it away.

Time for Spanish.

My kids don’t share my love of foreign languages, but I still try to teach them. I hope they will retain something or at least grow some new brain synapses. My plan was to watch a lesson on Youtube but I had slow internet problems and couldn’t sign in. I think it was because they were downloading something on PS4.  I give up on that and we use our books. We study the present progressive. “Estoy hablando.” I am talking. Then I send them off to read books on their own.

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Crap this day is flying by! I guess I won’t be going to the gym after all . Should I go for a run right now? Well , my ankle is a bit sore after the weekend’s miles. I guess I’ll take a rest day.

I start thinking about what I am going to make for dinner. But I continue with laundry and cleaning . The kids go outside at some point for a short time, then they start playing video games.  I make sure the dogs get walked. I take out more trash. Hang up clothes.  I put my daughter back in bed and change her diaper and suction her .  She has been pretty sick and she’s still very congested but, thankfully,  no longer on oxygen like she was all weekend.  I empty out the suction machine tank. It’s pretty gross.  My memory is a bit foggy on what all I did but suddenly my husband was home from work. I never did read the book I had hoped to read. Sleeping so late threw me off and I just really have trouble sitting down to read on a Monday. It’s usually a pretty busy day and today was no exception.

Part two of my day begins

The chicken breasts are cooking in the Instant Pot. Hubby comes in from work and complains about various things, including that he has a bad headache. He has been sick also. He sits down and begins to check his Instagram and read a magazine while I get out some gluten free pasta and frozen broccoli. The dinner is ready and everyone eats . I skip the pasta because last time I ate it made my stomach bloat up. I eat a little chicken, some broccoli and a salad.  And then a few blueberries. Good thing I skipped the pasta because I am going to eat way too many carbs later! After dinner, I box up a pair of running shoes that I need to return via UPS , then hubby and I go walk the dogs together. It’s a very pleasant, breezy, low humidity evening. Not usual Texas weather.  We enjoy the good days when we can! We walk around the property, check the blackberries and see that they are starting to turn black, and look at the remains of the cedar tree my son cut down. It smells good. We check on the chickens and see that they need to be fed so I go tell my son to take care of that. Hubby comes back in the house and sits down.

I think I want Dessert

I don’t do a lot of baking because I am 1) on a low carb, gluten free diet, and 2) I’m not that good at baking.  But, I just bought a couple bags of pecans so I went looking for recipes that use pecans and  I chose this  flourless, chocolate pecan cookie recipe. Here it is. So good! And easy, too. It’s like gooey, yummy brownie cookie!

IMG_1835.JPGTime to feed Grace

I eat way too many of those decadently chocolate cookies, tell my husband good night since he goes to bed at 7PM ,  then get Grace out of bed and give her meds and feed her. I then start another load of laundry and take out more trash. I notice the mess in the kitchen that I made today as I cooked.

IMG_1836IMG_1837IMG_1838I suddenly decide this is a good time to write in my blog. So here I am ! Guess I better go do those dishes now.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading about a day in my life. This is pretty typical. But I usually get up a bit earlier and often I make a trip into town for something or go to the gym or go run at the park or somewhere if I have time. I’m finding it harder and harder to find the time.

How about you? Are you a mom and a runner? Or just a busy person? How do you fit running or exercise  into your daily schedule? I’d love to hear about it!

Be Unrealistic

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Everyone needs a little fantasy, idealism, denial, unrealistic optimism, hope. Too much stark reality from social media will ultimately lead to depression or even insanity.   People who don’t have the self-control to unfollow toxic people or pages or not read the constant negative, depressing, but actually true things that are out there. Do I need to know that someone put their baby in an oven? No. Do I need to know that the U.S. Government has become almost totally corrupt? Only if I plan to do something about it. But what? Do I need to know that someone I’ve never met and probably never will has cancer and is in crisis? Well, maybe. I can pray for them.  But if you have a lot of ‘friends’ online, this can become overwhelming to sensitive souls. I think it may be better to say broad-based prayers and save the personal prayers for actual friends.

(The above photo is from a Bible study group that I have been attending for 7 or 8 years. It’s a wonderful organization called Community Bible Study. This is a place of hope and a gathering like-minded people. I highly recommend it. It’s my once a week shot of Bible truth with no BS added.  The Word of God is powerful and the fellowship of other believers is a blessing. All personality types are welcome! No gossip or arguing is allowed. We focus on the Word. Just for grins, can you guess which one of the women in the photo has been to Africa multiple times as a missionary? )

Community Bible Study International

The reality is that the Bible says things will continue to get worse in the last days and obviously they are. The good thing is that the internet enables Christians to support each other and even sometimes become close friends. My best friend  lives in another state. We talk nearly every day. We met on Facebook and I’ve been to visit her and we ran a tough 50k trail race together. This potential to connect with real people makes my time online worth it. But I have learned to steer clear of too many negative things. Not everyone does, though. I see it in those around me who read and watch mostly the stuff that feeds their anger and cynicism and hate and self-righteousness.

Christians have a duty to spread LOVE. It’s not easy. But it is what the Bible commands. Most of us know the Love Chapter. 1 Corinthians 13, but it is always nice to read it again.

[1] If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. [2] And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. [3] If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

[4] Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant [5] or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; [6] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. [7] Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8. Love never ends. ESV

How is it even possible to love people in today’s world? Only with God’s help. Only with constant reliance on the Holy Spirit. Only with a humble heart that recognizes our own faults. Only with the hope of eternal life with Jesus that he promises to his children.

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Hoping for a good day at the Orion Ultra at Surfside Beach.

There are still many, many reasons to be happy in this world and to  seek and give love and help others and form relationships and enjoy life. But it takes effort and making ourselves look away from the death, floods, fires, politics, oppression that is constantly broadcast. It’s not being unrealistic. Focusing on the good makes you willing and able to do good! Focusing on Jesus and his supernatural power instead of your weakness will help you love others and maybe even make a difference in someone’s life. Expect God to answer your prayers! He says he loves you, trust Him.

I love the new show by Mike Row,  Returning the Favor. It’s so positive! It highlights the real people out there doing good deeds and not seeking fame or fortune. One young teen started a toilet paper drive when she found out some people live without it. There are people helping people all over the country. Social media and the regular media only show a few tiny stories about these people. You have to seek them out.

Returning The Favor

God bless you and help you to love others today as you seek His will in your life, which is to trust and believe and love Him. Amen.

 

 

Buzzed Blogging

I was just hanging up laundry and had the idea that it would be better for me to write my blog while buzzed. I’m so much more interesting! At least to myself. So, two rum and Frescas later, here I am, typing away like some kind of writer.

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I really don’t mind doing laundry.  As a runner , my race t-shirts and other running clothing is very special to me and loaded with memories and happy feelings. I don’t mind that they need to be hung to dry because they are ‘tech’ material, whatever that is. Actually it means polyester, something we once thought was for poor people or in bad taste or just ugly, but has become a sought-after thing.  Only purists cry for those awful all unisex, cotton 5k  race t-shirts! Or was that yesterday’s opinion? The fads change so quickly.  I love my race jacket that I got at my last marathon.  It works great for this weird climate change weather. Usually it’s hot every day in Texas, yep, year round, but it’s been chilly a lot lately. Well, okay, it did snow this winter but it was 80 degrees the same week, if I recall correctly.

Ugh. My son just came in the room asking about intermittent fasting! He’s thin and young, 21, I think . He does not need to fast! I’m a bad influence with all my focus on food and diets. I’m old and trying not to gain weight. I’m 53. Is that old? I have gray hair if I don’t dye it. But I ran 100 miles , so I’m still alive. But for how long?

Okay, back to the weather, well that’s boring. Everyone knows it’s been weird.  Let’s talk about something else.

I have this pile of bills next to me.  The devil tries to get me down with worries about money, but , nope. God takes care of me! We’ve been surviving our whole lives , well almost 27 married years , on my husband’s  income and God has provided. Thank you, Jesus.  I love you! Not being irreverent. I mean it, thank you! I know that many people worry about money and it’s no wonder since the world tries to tell you to do this and that so you can buy this and that and also that you should prepare for your future. Well, I am not prepared. I live week to week. Paycheck to paycheck, like millions of people.  It is what it is. Money does not buy security or happiness. Money cannot buy true love or health. And if you can’t buy happiness, love or health, then why stress? The Bible says if you have food and clothing, it’s enough. I do like my extra stuff, though.

But what about the poor, the homeless? I don’t know. America has always provided for them and God is there for them, too. It’s a mystery. But Jesus is the answer.

I’m tired now. I am old, like I said, and my body knows what time it is, bedtime. Good night my fellow bloggers ! I’m sure you are the only ones who will read this. Thank you. I promise to do more buzzed blogging if you like this one.

Do hard things, but do the other hard things, too.

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No Guts, No Glory! Pain is weakness leaving the body! Grind! No pain, no gain! We runners and fitness addicts see those words and more in memes every day.  They are also the mantras of people with addictive personalities.

Being able to push yourself hard, do the same thing over and over, ignore pain, focus on the task, throw out all extraneous thoughts, those are good things for some people. But for those of us with a tendency towards becoming addicted to things that make us feel good, it can be harmful, dangerous, exhausting, overwhelming, destructive. We can lose our grip on things that also matter very much but that provide less immediate gratification or endorphins or glory or even feelings of accomplishment. We can stop wanting to do the hard things in life. Hard things like deal with people, relationships, reality.

My day job is raising children, keeping house, taking care of my totally disabled, tube-fed, non-verbal, non-mobile child, homeschooling the two youngest children, dealing with a husband who has depressive tendencies, living on a very small income compared to the average American family, handling all the finances, planning meals, staying fit, managing my food allergies, dealing with depressive teens and young adults. It’s a hard job, but somebody’s gotta do it! That would be me.

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But I’d rather be running on trails, taking photos of nature, escaping into the woods, pushing my body physically on hills. This is what my brain tells me to do when I feel stressed. Go! Run ! Escape to the woods! But it’s irresponsible and unfair and selfish if I do it too much. I have people counting on me. So I must ignore that brain impulse. It’s as strong as a smoker’s urge to light up or any addiction. But with much healthier results, as long as you don’t hurt yourself, which I did. I’m injured. I ‘rested’ for a whole month. But I still walked and got on the elliptical. I didn’t really rest. Resting is SO hard for me. I have to move.

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This week was stressful. I escaped to the woods yesterday. I pushed myself on a one mile loop with a hill for four loops. My leg is sore now. But my brain is already making plans to go back there and see how many loops I can do next time. I’m really excited that this trail is only about an hour’s drive away . It’s the closest trail to me that has any hills or rocks. There is one other park  that is about 20 minutes from here, but it’s a very flat, easy path, not good for training. If I had my way, I’d move closer to “real” trails but I don’t have my way. I have God’s way. And to keep my mental peace, I need to accept that it is not God’s plan right now for me to live in the mountains or near trails.

That brings me back to the addictive personality. When I love something, I never want to stop doing it. I become a willing slave to it.  But I have to be fully aware of my weakness and surrender to the Lord’s will for me, not my addictions. God says we are to love him and love others. Those are his greatest commandments.  I love to do that on the trail and sometimes it happens. But I have to meet people where they are  and they are not always on the trail.