Tag Archives: blessings

Reader request Friday

For 007 at https://bottomlesscoffee007.com/: I asked my son about the first birthday he ever planned and he laughed and said, “none , well maybe this one. ” We were sitting at the table eating pieces of a giant cake that his girlfriend had made for him. It was last Friday and he had called me on Tuesday to say he was coming home for his birthday. He brought his musical equipment and computer and his desire was for all the musicians in the family to make a birthday song together. That didn’t actually come together but good times were had.

For Rakellewrites  http://www.racquelwrites.com : Yes, 27 years is a lot of time spent with another human being and many compromises have been made on both sides to keep this ship afloat! While it’s easy for me to think of a long list of things I’ve given up for him, I must admit that he has an equally long list. Both of us are pretty easy-going , as long as we get our way. But , that only works if you both want the same thing! So over the years we’ve had to let go of some things. I think maybe he was the more generous one in the past and maybe I’m paying that back now . But who’s keeping track? Wink wink! One biggie for him was that in order to keep the growing family fed and bills paid he has had to sell some of his toys, as in cars, motorcycles, and other wheeled objects . Not always without some resentment and unhappiness, but we got past it. Another one is he’s been very flexible with me as far as giving me a lot of freedom, as long as all my work is done. In my case, I’ve had to learn to be patient when I want to go and do things and we just can’t afford it. In the past I’ve found ways to make travel and races happen , but it’s getting harder and harder . I have a strong belief in God and I rely on the Bible as my standard of right and wrong, therefore, even in some very trying periods of marriage, I have not felt that quitting was an option . I believe that Satan is real and he wants to destroy relationships. When things get rough , I pray harder! I also avoid people, authors, and other media that do not value the marriage vow. I know how easy it is to get sucked into that way of thinking. I think my husband and I are a good match and we usually enjoy the same things , but not always. And that’s okay. We are both independent and opinionated as well. We don’t always agree on politics but we agree on values and religion. Somehow it has worked for 27 years. When I hear that a couple is struggling, I try to encourage them to 1)remember their spouses good points and 2)remember their own faults. No one is perfect. I’ll finish with an example from real life. The weather is perfect today and I really wanted to go hiking . But I discovered my husband had other plans . Since I’m going trail running tomorrow, I opted to not push for the hike, even though he was willing to try to fit in both activities. There was not enough time in my opinion for both. I’m sorry to miss a day hiking in fall weather, but I had to be honest that I would do better to stay home and do chores. So I guess I’ve gotten better at not getting my way. I want to give God the credit for helping me mature and not be so selfish and stubborn. I have prayed specifically that he would make me a better wife and mother and I trust that he is at work .

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A Beautiful, Rugged Hike at Lost Maples State Park

I had trouble choosing a title. I wanted to say that God answered my prayers again, gave me the desires of my heart, showed up in a big way as always, because He did! But I’ve become more hesitant about saying that only because I know many people are praying for important , urgent, and much desired interventions and sometimes God waits a long time to answer, but always in His perfect timing. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad that God answers my prayers so often. Believe me, I am still praying, waiting and trusting for many things. Keep trusting and praying! But, it’s true, this time I was praying for the rain that was falling Saturday morning to stop , not flood the roads, not close the trails and for us to have a great day hiking, which was my chosen birthday activity. It all worked out! Here are the photos. Thanks be to God who blessed me once again!

This video is what got me so fired up to go here. Lost Maples SNA Part 1 of 2

 

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We drove through heavy rain to the park.

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Finally we came into view of the mountains!

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Ready or not! Let’s go!

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The trail was wet and rocky all the way.

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And easy section that was NOT in the creek bed.

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Taking a break from climbing up.

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A little more to go to the top.

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This is the trail.

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Octopus tree?!

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We were mostly alone but there was a young couple with two kids following us.

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Clear, clean water!

 

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A lovely pond  in which my husband took a quick dip .

How the day went: Left the house at 7:00. Hit rain about 9:00. Called the park and they said they were still open. Kept driving. Got to park at 11:00. About 80 degrees, breezy and not raining! Drove through some water on the road to get to the park. I started feeling emotional and excited when I spotted the mountains rising up ahead of us. The route is a very scenic road along a river through hunting leases, farms and ranches.  The area is a favorite place for motorcycle riders. We stopped for a quick photo in the town of Utopia. Who could resist?
Parked, got our gear, headed to trail head . We immediately had to cross over water on some large rocks. Looking across to the other side we saw a group of middle aged women ( like myself) laughing and talking and looking our way. We got to them and discovered that one of them had lost her balance crossing the rocks and fallen into the water. She had taken off her wet pants and was just wearing a rain poncho. They thought it was hilarious. We laughed with them,  wished them well and kept going. A little later we came to another crossing of the same creek but no dry way across , so that was the first of many times we got our feet wet.

Another group was heading out in the opposite direction at this point in the loop. I had heard that the clockwise direction was the more difficult way and I picked that . I thought it might be easier to go up the “hard side” and  down the other side. But in reality, I think it may have been just as hard either direction. But going clockwise you do get the hardest parts over with first and then finish on the easy trail, which I liked. There is one relatively big climb  and then you come to a flat spot on the top where we took a lunch break. There’s a chemical bathroom up there as well and primitive camping. Then you go back down which was very technical, but doable, and we were glad we had hiking poles. Then once again you are in the canyon, mostly hiking through or next to the creek bed with canyon walls on both sides. The trail was hard to follow due to a recent flood and leftover debris which made it hard to see a way through in many places. So that added a level of adventure which made it more interesting than your typical groomed trails. You can’t really get lost unless you scramble up the side of the canyon , which would not be easy or wise! We enjoyed the sounds of the bubbling, gurgling creek, the occasional breezes, and lovely variety of trees and rocks.

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I had hoped to hike a little further but we were taking our time and not covering distance very quickly, so we decided at one point in an out and back section to turn around and finish the main loop, knowing we still had a two hour drive back to our hotel. Happily for our tired, sore feet, we found some less rocky trails ahead. My husband took a dip in a lovely pond while I had a snack of Skittles and took in the natural beauty of the canyon. We passed more hikers in this easier section of trail. Finally we made it back to the car ,covering just under 6 miles.  We took the time to visit a small motorcycle museum, where we met a very friendly lady and saw about 50 very cool bikes from all over the world,  before driving back to San Antonio. All told, a wonderful day!

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By the clear pond. Those are green rocks in the water.

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The rocks that the lady fell on. I would have hurt myself if I’d fallen! Glad she didn’t.

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Utopia, Texas, where everything is perfect!

Take a walk with me and my Doggies

Every morning my dogs are eagerly waiting for me to finally get out of bed and immediately take them outside. The slightest delay while I make coffee or turn on my laptop will start the whining from the dachshund. If possible the Shepherd will put her nose under my bedroom door or at least lay against it loudly to remind me that she’s waiting for me, lazy bones, and I should hurry up ! When I emerge from the room she will run to whatever bedroom the Dachshund is sleeping in and stare at the door until I open it to free her buddy so she can accost him by putting his head in her mouth. They both will stare at me intently and watch my every move and try to telepathically force me to do their will. Usually I can’t stand the ultra high pitched whining for long so off we go. Here are some photos of what we see along the walk, with captions.

Today I almost beat the sunrise over the trees. It’s only low 70s right now but will hit mid-90s by noon.

On your left is the red dirt “pond” that only holds water as long as it keeps raining.

The Sky is really pretty today.

Looking north back towards the “hill” where dewberries grow in May and where we run and ride dirt bikes up and over and down.

Along the road we get wildflowers in the spring . I run on this road.

This part of the trail is very sandy and slightly uphill. It’s more fun running down .

Trying to get the mole they can hear but we can’t .

this is the much hated Yaupon bush that grows and takes over property all over Texas and is very difficult to remove .

The back of the hill. You can see the dead berry brambles.

The steepest path down the hill , also gravelly . No trouble for Ellie.

and back to the house. My husband made the fish . There’s a huge hornet nest by the door. Lots of them this summer. Hard to kill .

I hope you enjoyed our walk! Now it’s time to drink coffee and then start another busy day! Maybe tomorrow I’ll share some of the hundred different hummingbird photos I’ve taken lately . God bless you and keep you.

Enjoy the Little Things

It’s that time again! No, not pumpkin spice everything time. Hummingbird migration time! I know I’m not alone in loving the little, buzzing birdies because there are photos everywhere on social media. Today I stood three feet away from the feeder and still ended up with sub-par pictures of the hungry horde. I just couldn’t get my phone camera to focus fast enough and my background is pretty terrible. Hello barn!  A real camera with a zoom would be nice. But it was still fun to stand so close and hear and see them. Here are a few of the better photos that I tried to enhance a bit to make them easier to see. Use your imagination! I love the ruby-throated ones, but we have more of the green ones. I also love hawks, painted buntings,  and water birds which we have in good supply.

Today has been a busy day. I ran 3 miles, my first run since my race and injury. I was slow and it still hurts a little,  but it felt good to move again. Then my kids and I spent a long time on our Bible study lesson because we had to look up tons of verses, actually big chunks of the Old Testament. After that I tried to refresh their math skills. Why do they seem to retain so little from last year ? And the last subject for today was Life Science. They are studying about ecosystems, which I find interesting. I know it sounds like we didn’t do much, but I like to ease into the school routine, for my sake and theirs!

I’m thankful for this day. I’m blessed to be a stay-home mom who can look at birds while drinking coffee and study the Bible with my kids after a nice run. I may not have a fancy car or clothes, but I appreciate the little things !

How was your day? Are you a birdwatcher? What kinds do you get excited about?

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SSDD? Facebook memories tell the story.

Same shit, different day. It was a saying when I was younger,  I’m not sure if it is still being used. It means that you had a typical , boring day. But in my case, I think SSDD is not a negative thing. One thing I’ve noticed through the magic of social media, especially Facebook memories, is that my life has been pretty routine, repetitive and predictable over the years, at least since the internet has been keeping track for me.  At first I was bothered by that . I thought, Wow, I am a boring person! I did the exact same thing last year on this day! But then I realized that there is a good reason for the sameness.  I know what I like!

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A memory from two years ago. Sadly I won’t be repeating it this year, but it was a great race!

 

I do what I like, travel, running, hiking , over and over, based on the season, and based on what is offered at various times of year.  I would do those things even more often if had the chance, but I think God made seasons to force us to mix it up. In fact, I’m so bad about falling in love with something and wanting to do it ALL THE TIME, that I get sad when I can’t. So it is actually helpful for me to see these memories and remember that I have had a lot of fun times in my life and I will probably have more fun times, even if this day, week , or month is kinda boring.

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I posted this photo two years ago. I ate the same thing yesterday. I like it! I love avocados in season. I try to eat a whole one every day.

 

Another good thing about these social media reminders is that I tend to live in the moment and I also have a very bad memory. These two things can tend to make me forget the good times and the happy times when I am having a bad day. I love it that other people can remember things better and they tell stories that include me or my kids having fun, good times I’ve forgotten. It helps me say, oh, I DO have a good life! Oh, my kids DO have a good childhood! Oh, I am SO blessed! Because some days I feel sorry for myself or that I’m a terrible mom or that God doesn’t care about me. But based on these Facebook memories, I can see that I’m a pretty good mom and I have done a lot of cool stuff and gone on some great trips.

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Here’s one of my two youngest sons that my husband posted two years ago. They have both changed a lot since then!

 

Of course , one bad thing about looking back on the Timeline is I can see some of the dumb and negative stuff I’ve posted in the past on a bad day or just a thoughtless (or drunk) moment, and that makes me feel like an idiot and embarrassed at my stupidity. It does make me try harder to think before I click POST! And thankfully we can delete those posts, but the damage may have been done. People can take your posts way more seriously than you meant them, or vice versa. Or they can misunderstand completely what thoughts and ideas you are trying to convey if you don’t state them clearly.  If I am talking to someone face to face, we will have an actual conversation , back and forth, with facial expressions, body language, and voice changes, getting to the real meaning and hopefully coming to understand each other’s point of view. But let’s face it, most of us do the same thing if we use social media regularly. We post things we later regret or have to clarify. We have to forgive ourselves, learn, and try to do better at communicating, being compassionate, and putting ourselves in other’s shoes.

That is why I think Facebook can be a good thing for people like me who have poor social skills.  Part of having ADHD is not thinking about the other person before you act of speak. It’s not that you don’t care, you just get in a rush. Facebook has given me good feedback and enough shame, if you will, to make me slow down and think. But I still slip up and I am thankful for the friends who are forgiving towards me. I think they see my real self, the person who really does care about people.

What about you? Do you look at your Facebook memories? Does it make you feel good or bad ?

3 hours of Bliss

As I stated in a previous post, every race is a new adventure. Yesterday proved this to be true as  I lined up with 164 other people who know how to enjoy life and attempted a new challenge, 25K (15.8 miles) of what I now consider a ‘not so easy’ trail as I had been lead to believe. I kept thinking that as I ran. “This is not an easy trail!” There were other racers doing 10K, 50K and 50 mile distances on the same course. Huge applause to those who did more than one loop of this and special awe to those who ran FAST. I wish I could just sit in a tree, or maybe a chair, in the woods and watch those speed-demons fly up and down those rocky hills! Yes, there were a few easier stretches, thank you!, but even those were mostly uphill, of course. The trails of Rocky Hill Ranch are made for mountain bikers. I have no idea how they can ride on some of that stuff. You literally have spots on the trail  that squeeze between two pine trees. Then there are multiple times where you run/slide/scoot/fall down a steep ravine and scramble up the other side. Most of my limited trail running is on dirt trails without rocks. This race had rocks and gravel mixed in with pine needles. It seemed odd and my feet started really hurting. I didn’t wear shoes with rock plates. Live and learn!

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The mechanics of the race

So let’s move to the interesting parts of the race experience! I went to the race with a friend. Due to a rough week, she hadn’t been able to run at all. She wanted to take it easy and just enjoy the race at her pace. I was feeling more competitive, but I made a couple of attempts to stay with her. I finally admitted to myself that I wanted to run faster than she did that day and so I took off alone. The trail is a single track , meaning single file running. I had let a group of runners pass me while waiting for my friend to catch up. My new goal became to catch up to and pass those runners. I started running as hard as I could at a pace that would not leave me gasping for air and also still be able to keep my footing on the rocks and ups and downs. This means I was running much slower than I do on the road, but fast enough to feel challenging. I kept it up until the second aid station, meanwhile passing a few people. At the aid station, several people stopped to refill water bottles and I was able to run past them since I had a water belt. After that , the course got more flat and less rocks, not easy but easier. There was only one guy in sight ahead of me and no one behind me. I felt a little spooked in the forest ‘alone’. So I determined to keep that guy in my sights. He had a Houston Marathon shirt on so I referred to him in my thoughts as Marathon man. “Where are you Marathon man?!” He was running fast and I had to really push. I kept losing sight of him in the dense trees. I was having a total blast chasing him! This was my favorite part of the race. Finally after at least 10-15 minutes I actually caught up to him, but not for long, he was too fast and slipped away. By then we had caught up to some other runners, a few here and there. I was able to pass a few more and also got passed by some fast guys, probably guys on their second loop for the 50K. I talked to a few people along the way as it got harder and more painful to run . There was pink shirt girl, older Mexican guy, friendly high-fiving guy who kept reappearing , and Crossfit guy who was talked into running the race even though he doesn’t run. The last section was the most difficult by far with more rocks,  steep climbs and switchbacks and seemingly constant up and downs.  Finally it was obvious by my watch we were getting close  to the end and I tried not to slow down even though it hurt . I was pretty ecstatic when we came out onto some smoother downhill trail and headed to the finish line that was still out of sight but not too far away. Forgot to mention that I nearly fell down a ravine when I stumbled and headed off the trail.  My legs were getting so weak that I had a hard time stopping myself. That was a close one but a funny memory now. The finish line was very anti-climactic being a small trail race. A few people along the final stretch yelled and clapped, and a couple of people congratulated me and I was given a medal at the finish line. Final time 3:07. Yes, three hours to run a little less than 16 miles. I can do that on the road much faster. Trails are tough!  I told pink shirt girl and older Mexican guy congrats when I saw them come in. Gulped down some flat ginger ale and coke and sprite. Grabbed  a couple bites of fruit, but knew better than to eat a lot at that point. I usually need a little time to relax before eating and drinking. Then I walked around and waited for my friend to come in. She wasn’t far behind and she had a good race without me. We were both cold and hungry and ready to go home and shower and eat real food so we left shortly after checking official results. I got 16th in my age group. I now have a PR to beat!

The emotional and spiritual side of the race

This is the part of running that keeps me coming back. The physical side is challenging and  exciting, but it’s exhausting and without these other benefits, I might not be willing to suffer so much. When you run for any amount of time over 15 minutes, you have to either listen to music or be able to entertain yourself in other ways. I didn’t take my music this race since I planned to be with my friend chatting. So as I took off without her I thought to myself, I have no music. The need for constant vigilance on the trail will keep you pretty busy or you will fall on your face. But there is still time to think. Yesterday I spent time praying for people I know who are going through hard times. I also thanked God for His constant love and care and blessings. I truly have a life that many people just don’t understand. It probably looks like a hard life to many and I often hear things like, ” You inspire me!”. They don’t realize that I am so blessed by my life. I love my six children. I love my daughter and don’t really think much about her condition, Miller-Dieker Syndrome. I love my hard working husband. Love my friends! And so on…. I also thought about the scene around me. What a beautiful place! As I said, pine trees, rocks, empty river beds, fallen trees, and at one point, we came out of the forest to the bluebonnet covered field in the photo below.  As I emerged from the woods, I remembered that the race director had posted a teaser on facebook about a beautiful view. Wow,  stunned silence. It was glorious and smelled so good. Many runners actually stopped and took photos during the race, it was that awesome. Then later I came to the edge of a high spot on the trail and was treated to a panoramic vista of green hills. Texas is a beautiful place in the Spring before the drought comes! I also had thoughts such as , I will pass you! And , please move so I can pass you. Thank you, great job! That was the polite thing that every runner said as they passed on the single track. Great job! Other times I talked to myself about not slowing down and doing my best. Do your best! became my mantra during those last hard two miles. What the f@ck ?!  was a frequent and sometimes verbalized thought as I came to yet another deep ravine. After all was said and done and I arrived back at mi casa, my thoughts were on food/bacon, rest, rehydrating and  reliving the race in my mind. Today I am reading about it on facebook and see how others are also reliving the experience and giving thanks for the help of friends at the race. I love facebook for that reason. It’s a great tool.

Now I look forward to the next race in three weeks. Until then my knee has a little time to recover. God bless you and happy running!!