Sunday, July 15, 2018

So Long Snooze

I always think "I am going to get up early tomorrow!", but then, when the alarm goes off at 6am on a Saturday morning, that little buddy Snooze becomes my pillow-mate. Yesterday morning, I awoke to Francesca Battistelli singing, "Sick and tired of being sick and tired..." The Breakup Song (breaking up with the fear that keeps me in bondage), and the first thought I was aware of in my sleep-fuzzied brain was: "Oh no! I forgot to call my patients for today's visits. And wait, who do I even have on my schedule??" I can't remember at all and I feel a hint of panic. Think, think, think. Then the words of the song break through a bit more and my brain, now less-fuzzy, realizes I am not working today. Relax. A slow smile brings the corners of my mouth up and at the same time, my eyes open fully. That realization, along with needing to use the bathroom RIGHT NOW, had me throwing the covers off, taking a brief moment to flex my toes and feet before planting them firmly on the ground like a woman on a mission. I was going to seize this day!

An early morning run sounded about right, but I don't like running on an empty stomach any more than I like running after a big meal., of course....and let's see, an organic brown sugar toaster pastry (do organic and brown sugar even belong in the same sentence??). Perfect! Until I burnt the first pastry that is, and the glaze was melted beyond recognition and it dripped and adhered to my index finger leaving a blister. Ouch. I wasn't going to be deterred though. A second pastry was lightly browned and soon I was all set with a book, some paper, a pen, my coffee, and a blanket and I set out for our pond. Again, I always think about doing this and it has never come to fruition.

But I have a choice, don't I? We all do.

I can hit snooze until 8am and then be a bear about not getting up earlier or I can decide to get up. I have choices all day long that can change the course of my day and my attitude. My grandma had a quote taped to her wall between the kitchen and living room at the junction where it broke off to the short hallway to her bathroom and bedroom. No matter where she was coming from in her house, she would see this tiny snippet of paper with a big saying.

 When my alarm goes off every morning I can stay "sick and tired of... (fill in the blank)" or I can do something about it. One thing I did recently was change my alarm clock song during the week to a song by Bethany Dillon called "Let Your Light Shine". I awaken with a prayer and a blessing on my heart.

Father, let Your light shine down on me. Father, let Your light shine down on me; no matter what the day or night may bring...Father, let Your light shine down on me." 

The entire song speaks to me in powerful ways and I have put the link to a youtube video with lyrics below. Powerful truths and I get the privilege to wake up to this. It has helped when I am faced with those attitude choices that I inevitably do. 

7:30am and I am 1 1/2 hours of blessing into my day. I'm being bathed in the warm rays stretching over the treetops, squinting as the light reflects off the water, and finally just closing my eyes, feeling the heat on my eyelids, and even with my eyes closed, I see yellow and orange light. My hearing becomes heightened and I hear the bullfrogs as they twang and harrumph their choir notes in a pleasant off-key medley with the birds. 

Then, tossing a few leftover pastry crumbs to the blue gill milling beneath the dock, I breathe deeply. Is it possible to smell and taste the colors green and blue? You should try it sometime; it is exhilarating! I think I may have inhaled a tiny glimmer of heaven. 

My run still awaits. I have been nourished physically, mentally, and spiritually. I know that I am guilty of allowing anxiety and my fear of whatever I think the day may hold to keep me from seizing the opportunities that each day holds. I forget sometimes that God has me in His sight, that He wants to go with me, that He has gone before me and already knows what the day holds. He gives me a choice, many choices actually. That is powerful when you really think about it.

Dear Snooze, I am sorry to say we may be breaking up. I am not hiding behind you anymore to avoid facing the day. I am not letting you and Fear conspire to keep me in a bondage. Let my just borrow Francesca's words to say, "I know who I am, I know I'm strong and I am free, go my own identity. So fear, you will never be welcome here.". 


Monday, May 7, 2018

Conquering the Climb

I allow it to own me, 
stopping my dreams in their tracks,
keeping me in a box. 

BUT yesterday? 
I made a decision to do something new. 
Something that made my heart pound and my body tremble. 

I went rock climbing with my daughter,Amy and my almost son-in-law, Joel. 
This is how it went. 
After church at Veritas in Columbus, Ohio we went back to Amy's house and ate chicken alfredo. You know, energy for what the afternoon would bring. Maybe I should have had Wheaties, but Wheaties are gross and alfredo is not. I put on what I thought would be appropriate rock climbing attire and off we went to The Wall. 

Kinda looks like I have to pee. I don't. Not yet. 
"Okay. I can do this. I can. It's not that high. And you have a harness. It's all good."
I keep telling myself this as we watch the others on the wall, waiting for a free auto belay. You know, the thing that will keep me from plummeting to the ground in an ungraceful heap. 

So, the ungraceful heap? 
My first attempt to go up also involved how to get down. I have this harness around my waist and thighs with one rope attached in the front. And ALL I had to do to come down is LET GO OF THE WALL and TRUST that this auto belay will let me down gently. 

~Apparently I have trust issues.~

I would think "Go, just do it!" and I just couldn't. 
"One, two, three...."
And still there I was perched on the wall, arms starting to feel numb. 

And then I had to let go, and because I wasn't too far up yet, the auto belay didn't really have time to slow down. I landed on my feet with an "ooooff" and then proceeded to bounce back onto my butt, not just once but about three times in a row. Think how a pebble looks skimming across the pond. That was me. Did I mention that the ground was a little bouncy on purpose and my bottom is ample enough that the bouncing was just a natural phenomenon? I am sure it looked natural and will be a move that other rock climbers will now try to emulate. 

I finally figured out how to go up to this little ledge that you could stand on, and pulled myself up, breathless and exhausted. It was the climbing part that the little kids do without ropes. I am having flashbacks to my 5th Grade ski trip and never making it off the Bunny Slope. 

Not this time!!
Let's Do This! 

This young woman is my inspiration. Amy, you rock!
(sorry, I couldn't help that!)  

I hook into a different auto belay and try again. I decide I am not going to look down or too far up; my focus is where I am and my next immediate move. I had tried Amy's climbing shoes and I wasn't sure if I liked the shoe or being barefoot; besides the shoe hurt my left foot, making it cramp, so I decided to try it both ways. I'm not sure if that was the trick or not, but this was the only time I made it all the way to the top. If I thought letting go was hard before, this was just as hard. I may have swung around more than I would've liked on the way down, but I did manage to avoid the pebble-on-the-pond look at the end. I landed on my feet. Like a cat.

Speaking of feeling cat-like...
I was feeling a new confidence and as Amy and Joel were conquering another part of the wall, I thought I'd go jump up athletically onto the two foot high rock wall that surrounded the climbing area as I made my way to where our stuff lay on the grass.
I approached the wall with a slight swagger.
Oh yeah. I am feeling this.
Then, as I go to jump up, I trip and instead of landing on my feet, you know cat-like, I sprawl across the rock, my head and arms in the grass, my belly on the rock and my legs still on the gravel. I immediately tried to think how I could make this look like I intended to land this way. 
Ummm, not happening. 
I literally crawled the rest of the way to our gear and then just burst into laughter. 
Maybe I can tell everyone that the bruise on my knee is from heroic rock-climbing. 

I think I was not expecting just how much scaling a rock wall would take out of me.
My arms would feel crazy, both numb and tingling. I learned that if I stayed in one place too long, trying to figure out my next move, it would make my arms and legs lose energy and strength. I was better if I studied the wall for a bit before even trying and then once moving up, to just keep moving. 

Okay, sounds like a life lesson here. 

Fear can hold you back and sometimes that's a good thing, but I need to take time sometimes to explore options, see what the possibilities are and then take the climb. Or the plunge. God is more secure, more reliable than any auto belay. He holds me in the palm of His hand.
I choose to trust in that. 



Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Little Red Iris

Ryan has been waiting, some days patiently, other days not so much. There has been a scrap of notebook paper on the refrigerator since last fall with the tentative due dates for his goats, Rosie and Daisy. He has done his research and knows more about the goat birthing process than the goat herself. About a week ago, he slept in the barn next to Rosie, under a tarped-in shelter and snuggled into a sleeping bag.

Just to clarify: He was in the sleeping bag, not the goat.

A week passed and still no babies. Were the dates wrong? Then, when I came home from work Friday evening, he informed me that it would be "very soon" as Rosie had "bagged up". Yes, that's udder talk for you. Rosie was bunking in our old milk-house with piles of hay to bed in, fresh water, and essential oils diffusing to relax the pregnant goat. Okay, so maybe not the essential oils; Rosie thought that was a bit over-the-top. Ryan planned to go out around midnight to check on her, but as it sometimes happens, he fell asleep and slept through the night.

In the morning, Ryan opened his eyes, saw the daylight and headed to the barn, still closing his jacket as he hurried through the cold morning air, his breath streaming out in great puffs of white. Opening the milk-house door, he saw one little red goat, already on her feet. Running back to the house, he found me.

"Mom, Rosie is having her babies; she has one already and it looks like she's having another one."
It actually sounded more like this: "MomRosieishavingherbabiesshehasonealreadyanditlookslikesheshavinganotherone"

I hurried and got dressed, cleaned the spider webs out of my winter barn boots (no, I don't go out there much in the winter) and made my own breath trail as I hurried to the barn. I heard the insistent "baa-ing" of the baby before I even opened the door and then stepping inside, I see Ryan with not just one new baby, but two.

With an old towel, he was cradling the smaller, darker red goat. "Mom, I found this one over there in the corner and not in the hay. I don't know what Rosie was thinking. I don't know if it'll be okay; she's pretty cold."

She was cold, her ears, her feet, her body. I rubbed her vigorously with the towel to try to get some warmth going. Her head lolled to the side and she couldn't even attempt to stand. The other little one was active, walking around, buffing at Rosie to find some milk, but the little one I held in my arms had me worried.

Leo came home from a meeting at the church just then and wise farmer that he is, suggested Rosie and her babies be taken into the basement by the furnace. I stood up with the cold, quiet baby in my arms and Ryan handed me the other baby who was vigorously crying and trying to get away. If I could only get some of her vigor into the other one. I walked as fast as I could and quickly got her onto the top of the warm furnace. While Ryan watched them, I ran upstairs to warm up an old towel. 
(Towels do catch on fire when heated for two minutes in a microwave. Not that I'd know from personal experience or anything.) I grabbed the bathroom heater and got it plugged in and focused on the wee goat who was actually now starting to perk up a bit. 

Little by little, warmth began to infuse through this little dark red goat. Her eyes became more focused, she tried to stand, her crying became less frantic. I kept thinking, "THANK YOU GOD!!" Ryan (and me too!) would have been so sad if Little Red didn't make it. 

Fast forward 24 hours: 

I mean, could they be any more adorable?? One has Boer goat ears, the other has Pygmy goat ears and both are eating up a storm, frolicking about, and already trying to find things to nibble on. 

As for names, I rather like Little Red, but in the end, Ryan went with Iris and Sushi. I think I need to go out and warn all my flowers, shrubs, anything remotely garden or plant related to "Look out!!" because I think, come Spring, these two might be better named Lawn Mower and Weed-Eater.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018


I am here, hidden beneath the porous damp soil
waiting for warmth and golden light to filter through.
Waiting to stretch and push though,
but barriers stand in my way:
Fear. Insecurity. Isolation. Depression. Myself.
I'm waiting, but I'm not sure what it is I am waiting for. 

I hear a Voice. 
He knows my fears, my insecurities, my loneliness. 
He knows Me. 
But I am still afraid.
The darkness is where I have been, it is what I know. 
This is my dwelling place, what I think is safe. 

A voice breathes in my ear. 
"I am with you. I have gone before you. I know what is ahead.
Trust Me."

Tentative. Cautious. Slow. 
I lift my head and open my eyes. 
I see it filter through the cracks in the dark cloak
I have surrounded myself with.
Touching my face, soft and gentle like butterfly wings.

Reaching up to finger the light and part the shadows,
I find myself not just reaching, but pushing through. 
It hurts and I want to go back. 
There is no going back, only forward. 

"Onward and Upward." 
I hear whispers in the breeze;
it is making my hair sweep across my cheek. 
Brushing it back, I feel the tears that have fallen unnoticed. 
"Trust Me."

I reach out.
He reaches back.
I am exposed, naked, raw in the dappled sunlight.
He does not turn away or leave me to stand alone. 
I am warm for the first time. 
Truly warm. 

More, I want more of this. 
I don't want to stay curled inwards. 
One limb at a time
I stretch as far as I can.
I find that I can breathe like I never could before. 

It is good. 
"You are good." 
"You are good. You are my creation. My daughter. I love you.
I see you and I know my creation is very good."

"Look and see."
Turning my head from left to right, looking ahead and behind,
my eyes widen. 
I am not alone. 
All around are others just like me in spite of the differences of gender, race, ethnicity, and color. 
Different stories, fears that vary, hurts that are many,
and joys that we celebrate, 
but we are here together. 
Together with our Creator. 

"Onward and Upward, my daughter.
There will be storms. It won't be easy. 
There will be tears and the darkness will threaten to engulf.
But you will not be alone if you just reach out
and hang on tight. 
I am here. 
I have always been here.
Make me your dwelling place. 

I am Yours. 

1How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! 2My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. 3Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young- a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God. 4Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. 5Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 6As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 7They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.

New International Version , Copyright 2011-2017 Biblica

With Love, 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Live, Love, Run...Part 2

I wake up at 5:45am, then 5:54am, then again at 6:03am. I am beginning to see what my kids mean about my alarm. I am getting on my own nerves. Get up girl!! Quit with the snooze button already! Get the fuzzies out of your brain and remember what today is. It. Is. Race. Day!!! You have been working towards this since May:  My first official 5k.

My brain is awake now thinking even if the rest of me is still resisting getting out of this comfy bed.  I know I won't finish first unless by some miracle my feet grow wings and a 5 minute/mile average happens. But I don't want to finish last either. Middle of the pack seems okay to me. But I do have to get out of bed first. 

Checking out the pin job. Smile. Look confident!
I smile and now wide awake, I bound out of bed; I can't tell if my heart is beating faster because I'm feeling happy or nervous. Probably both. I had my clothes laid out last evening and my racing bib ready to pin on. The perfectionist in me wants to pin and re-pin until I get it on perfectly straight. I tilt my head. Hmmm...maybe it is just me who is crooked.

Okay, pinned...✔ move on...what's next? Water. Drink 16 oz now so that all the inevitable pit-stops happen before the race and not during. Fickle bladder anyhow. Of course, that could potentially make me run faster; is that why there are porta-potties positioned close to the finish line?
Hair...ponytail or just do a headband? I'll be different. Just a headband...✔
On to the Breakfast of Champions: an English muffin with butter and strawberry jam and fruit. And one bite of scrambled eggs for good measure. I'll skip the coffee (shocking, I know!). If water causes pit-stops,  coffee causes pit-stops x2. Or #2. Okay, TMI. Nope, skipping the coffee.

This whole race thing is new to me and I have no idea what the proper etiquette is sometimes never. I'm a little unsure of having my number pinned on already. I look too eager (but I am eager!). I look like a newbie (uh, I am a newbie). I wore a cardigan to breakfast, you know, to not stand out in the crowd of the two other people eating breakfast. Breakfast...✔.

We set off to the Coliseum up the road as I still need to figure out where Corral #3 is and I want to walk a bit and stretch. I've avoided serious injury to myself so far and I would really like that trend to continue; I've had enough physical therapy this year. I get out of the car and I'm feeling a little more nervous and unsure. I can see it in the pictures my husband is happy to snap on his phone to commemorate this occasion. I see the hesitant smile and the shoulders and head not quite held high. I kind of want to melt into the crowd in Corral #3 as we await 0800 and the blast of the starting horn.
Early to arrive, trying to muster confidence before the Corrals fill with racers.

Can I outrun the baby strollers? Now I am nervous
0800: Corral #1 is off and running and the word cheetah comes to mind. Not quite my speed. Corral #2 is let loose with a cheer from the crowd and then my Corral steps into place. I have some music playing in my ears with a good tempo but I still hear the air horn and WE ARE OFF!

Honestly, I have never been able to run the entire 3.1 miles without a few walk breaks or stopping to grab a drink of water (me running + drinking at the same time = choking and sputtering) I was hoping today would be the day I'd be able to do it. The challenge to myself was on! I thought of this as I ran and so many other things. I recognized that there was a certain energy present that you just can't get when you run alone and it was amazing! I thought the amount of people running would be intimidating, but it was those people that made it ridiculously fun. I loved the variety of ages and all the different outfits, some crazy and colorful and others more traditional. I'd never really seen running skirts before but I'm thinking of sewing up some to wear with my leggings. Fun!! Everyone was so happy to be here, myself included. Well, maybe not the one guy at the finish line throwing up in the garbage can, but other than that...

5(k) Lessons Learned:
1.) Running a 5k is fun. Simple but true, at least for me. Note, I didn't say easy, because it hasn't been easy when my ankles hurt, my knee hurt, my thigh hurt, my foot hurt (not all at the same time thank God!), and I felt like I'd never ever get the hang of breathing. There were times I really thought I must be a little insane to be starting to run after all these years.

2.) Perseverance pays off. The point in the race that I most wanted to just slow down and walk was the last leg of it. I could see the finish line off to my left, but before I could get there I had to make a large loop through part of the parking lot. It looked way too long and felt like way too much at that point and I did think about stopping for a wee break. Then, determination kicked in and I pushed myself to do it.
3.) Strive to be as confident as you are after a race, before the race begins. I liked looking at the before and after pictures. What a difference! Head up, shoulders back and smile!!

4.) It is okay to feel proud of an accomplishment, really it is! When all the work put into something (running or whatever it is for you) pays off, go ahead and feel awesome!

Crossing the Finish Line and I'm looking to see if I can see my favorite cheerleader Leo

5.) I'm still learning and growing. I don't always have great running times. I still have times that I look and sound like I need oxygen. I will probably always look a little funny when I run. Having a goal to work towards is inspiring. I like to keep looking ahead to what's next. Onward and Upward always, in running, in my career, with my family, with my dreams.


P.S. Looking forward to the next one! November 5th in Columbus for the Hot Chocolate 5k with Adrienne by my side. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Live Love Run...(Part 1)

Friday October 6, 2017 around 8:00am

Early morning sunshine filtering through gauzy white curtains woke me up. I sat up just enough to look out the window to see a fine haze floating just above the ground, tangoing with the grass and Queen Anne's Lace past her prime. Coffee, let's go walk for coffee.

Warmer outside than I had anticipated for October, I thought about shedding the blue cardigan as I walked up our lane to the Dawdy Haus. A Benedict Latte, a coffee concoction of toasted marshmallow and caramel, was what I had anticipated more than the warmth on my skin. Even better in some ways than the sunshine or the coffee was the conversation with the barista behind the counter. We talked about goals, God's plan for each of us, and dreams that sometimes seem too big to be reality and other times are in our reach if we just attempt to reach out.

Like running in a 5k. In an official 5k. With people and not just me by myself.

And just like that, the morning was passing and Leo and I hopped in the vehicle and we were off to Hampton, Virginia for our 29th wedding anniversary and The Crawlin' Crab 5k.
 11:10am--The road continues before us and my coffee cup is long empty. We are listening to "The War Room" on CD as we drive. No need for words, just companionship as we keep on moving.

1:30pm--Bathroom. I need a bathroom. Now. And now that there is a department store in sight, it's even worse. Hold it, hold it, hold it....JUST PARK THE CAR ALREADY!!

1:38pm--Since we are in a store, let's shop for some shoes and clothes for Leo. I am reminded again that shopping is an exercise in how we are different from each other and in the end, it doesn't really matter. Let's start with shoes...he owns two pairs of what used-to-be dress shoes. One brown pair, one black pair. Both are worn to the point of no return. I, on the other hand foot, own multiple pairs in a variety of styles and colors. We browsed a bit and I picked out a few pairs that I liked and he was agreeable with one of those. We ended up with 0 pairs.

1:56pm--Onward to the men's clothing section. I like a v-neck t-shirt for him; he prefers crew. I like a little more fitted; he likes loose. There was a pair of jeans in a shade of mustard brown. I urged him to "just try them on". He resisted. I urged again, batting my eyelashes at him alluringly. He hung them back on the rack. I really need to work on that eyelash thing. We ended up with two crew neck t-shirts. I didn't need anything but I got a sports bra and two summer clearance shirts. Yeah, I like clothes. Leo wears clothes. I like a variety that evolves with the seasons and my mood. Leo will wear something for years until it literally wears out or becomes "barn-wear".

You know, he's really okay with me taking most of the closet and dresser space. He doesn't complain that I own shoes as varied as my wardrobe. And he lets me plan an overnight getaway to Hampton, VA so I can run in a 5k on our anniversary weekend. He supports me in doing something that I love and because I love him, I offered that we go visit some beef farms after the race. I know Leo doesn't enjoy running or working out, but he loves that I love it. He knows that I'm not necessarily the "typical farm wife" and I don't always understand the drive to keep farming, but I love that he loves it.

We don't always see eye-to-eye and we don't usually have the same taste in books or movies. We approach issues with our children differently. I like to browse and he likes to get what he needs and be done. We are different, but well-matched. Like a t-shirt and a flannel shirt. Two different types of shirts, but when layered...what an outfit!

4:35pm--We made it to our destination. We both agree that the route that looked the easiest, is the most annoyingly slow interstate ever. Kind of like life in a way. What looks easy, may not be the best route. Sometimes it's the scenic routes that make it worth it. 29 years of worth it. Leo, I'm looking forward to the next road we travel: may it be scenic, with even a few potholes to keep in interesting.

11:20pm--Tomorrow is going to get here too quick and not quick enough! I'm excited and nervous...

 Here's to Living and Loving with Leo (and maybe someday I'll convince him to run...muwahahaha)!

With love and anticipation for what lies ahead,