Saturday, October 17, 2020

The Woods and I

When I was about 5 1/2 years old in 1976, we moved to our newly built home out in The Cove. Part of our property was woods but I don’t remember at what age I and my two sisters began to explore and play amongst the trees. Once we did discover this magical place though, with its fern-covered slopes, the mossy rocks underfoot, and the wild grape vines dangling from the trees, we spent countless hours there. 

We delighted in finding the ghostly Indian pipes emerging from the soil and watching the ferns unfurl in the Spring. The earthy, sweet green scent of ferns is still a favorite of mine along with soil that has been gently disturbed. Soon, my sisters and I had a few paths established in our little woods and we felt quite adventurous if we ventured to where the house wasn’t really visible through the foliage. Our dolls would occasionally accompany us and we had a favorite log that became a living room couch, and a rock a stovetop. Purple inkberries made a colorful stew mixed in an ice-ream bucket with a few leafy additions, and some crushed acorns for protein. We never tried our concoction; the fun was in the pretending and creating. Sometimes we’d find orange spotted newts, odd-looking beetles, and once, tp my sister’s horror, an entire nest of yellow jackets. Many hours were spent picking wild blackberries (these we did eat!), climbing pine trees, creating blanket houses, and seeing how quietly we could walk through the woods. Sweet and wonderful memories!


Then , somewhere along the way, as life often goes, I got busy, too busy. It was with good things like friends, a boyfriend (yes, I married him), jobs, and school. The days of make-believe ad playing house, looking for wood elves, and swinging on wild vines slowly morphed  into the reality of a real house with a mortgage and bills, having babies and raising children, going to college, starting a career, and then working 1-3 jobs at a time for too many years. Life became more about staying afloat than feeling alive. Depression was a beast and anxiety it’s nasty companion. I spent too much time under their shadow, not knowing that there was help to come back to the land of the truly living. Once I had the help I needed, the person I was meant to began to slowly emerge. 

I feel like the person I am today is a result of my experiences as a child, the years spent struggling mentally and emotionally, and the steps I have taken since to not allow anxiety and depression to take over again. The past three years have been an exploration of learning to take care of myself physically, and in turn, I   saw how it affected my mental state of being. 


Getting outdoors to walk, then deciding I could be a runner, and now adding hiking and eventually backpacking with the goal of doing all 70 miles of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail next year, is my therapy. I feel like I have come out of the shadows and am living more fully then I would’ve ever thought possible when I was a little girl in the woods making inkberry soup. 

I have tasted life and it is good


I know I have posted a lot of my runs, my hikes, and other fitness adventures on Facebook. The reason I do this is to hopefully encourage others to get out there too. If 50 year old, fluffy Dianne, who was NEVER an athlete, and not particularly graceful, can get out there, so can you. Find what you love, what brings joy, and do it. 


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Ol’ Red

Pretty much every farm that I know of has a farm truck. Or if not a pickup truck, a vehicle of some variety that is specified as the beat-up, dusty (both inside and out), animal-or-hay-bale-hauling mode of transportation with a miscellaneous collection of nuts, bolts, tools, and equipment manuals on the passenger side floorboard and possible grass growing in the bed. Our current farm truck is Ol’ Red, a 1997 F150 Ford with who-knows-how-many miles on it because the odometer is stuck. Leo didn’t think it had a ridiculous amount of miles, but what it might lack in mileage, it makes up for in personality.

I learned this quite intimately over that past couple of weeks while the Nissan was undergoing extensive repairs. The Nissan and I are not currently on speaking terms. I actually feel more bonded to Ol’ Red after just three weeks than I am with the Nissan after two years. That one doesn’t even have a name; that says a lot.

Some people have said that I am a little quirky (or a lot depending on who you talk to!). Maybe that is why I connected so well with Ol’ Red. Quirky is just the tip of the iceberg on this farm truck. When you need specific, multi-step instructions on starting it, beyond “turn the key”, you know you’re in for a wild ride.
1.) Wiggle the gear shift so it goes into neutral or it won’t start. Turn the key and it should start.
2.) Step on the brake and now go into drive.
3.) Release the parking brake. But when you go to park it (or rather put it into more like neutral again) , do not forget to put the parking brake back on or the truck will roll away. “Park” apparently isn’t a thing anymore with Ol’ Red.
4.) Just leave the key in the cup holder when you are done.

Simple, right? I have become a pro at starting up, but I have forgotten to release the parking brake one or two times. Oops. Why does it smell hot? Hmmm. And Step #4? One time I brought the key into the house and promptly lost the ONLY key in existence for Ol’ Red. We looked everywhere except for obviously the right spot; to date this key is still MIA. Leo had to purchase a whole new ignition set-up. I guard that key like it is diamond encrusted gold.

A quirk that is not Ol’ Red’s fault is that this new key does not match the door locks. I learned that after locking myself out at Life Fitness Management. I needed to get to the college for clinic and could not wait for Triple A to rescue me. I remembered the little window behind the seats. It had just enough room for my body to wriggle in head-first to my hips and I could reach to unlock the door before wriggling in reverse to get myself back out. I am a little afraid that it looked more like twerking but I am trying not to think about that. Ol’ Red didn’t seem to mind all the commotion but if he had, I am sure there would have been a loud, very sudden horn blast. That’s another quirk. I can’t say how many times I have barely touched the steering wheel and a warning blasts out to innocent bystanders. 
Yes, that’s the little window!
While the horn works very well, there are other important, rather necessary features that do not. Like the gas gauge, speedometer, and engine temp. NONE of these work. I am always on empty, driving 0 mph, with a cold, cold engine. This makes following the speed limit a matter of following another car that looks reasonable in speed  and hoping for the best. I feel like a rebel at times. Rolling down the window enhances this rebel mode as the wind whips my hair into a frenzy. However , window-down mode is a matter of survival on hot days as the AC is also nonfunctional. Any air coming forth from the vents was akin to dragon’s breath. Any time I needed the window up, like making phone calls for work by the side of the road and the traffic noise made it difficult to hear, induced much perspiration. 
I lost 6.2 pounds of sweat. 

Dear, sweet Ol’ Red, the Nissan is back in my life now, repaired and revving to go. But I will miss you; you served me well. Maybe we can do it again sometime. I am sure the Nissan will see to that.


Friday, June 28, 2019

The Muddy Buddies

Ever since May 2017, I have wanted to do some kind of mud run. At the time, I was going to physical therapy for my shoulder and was still wearing the immobilizer  and had at least another six weeks in a sling when I heard some people talking about Mud on The Mountain at Seven Springs. I decided to add this to my bucket list. Crazy sure, but why not? Something in me wanted that challenge and I was not ready to throw in the towel at age 47, shoulder or not.

May 2018 rolled around and I did not feel like I could manage a lot of the obstacles. I was afraid of re-injuring my shoulder. I was afraid I couldn’t do the climbing, reaching, crawling required. I was afraid that my upper body strength would be the loser on a TV show called, “Can you beat your 5 year old at arm wrestling?” So, I let my dream pass me by for another year and the bucket list was set aside.

May 2019. Would this be the year for that mountain of mud? Well, I was going to a wedding the day of the Seven Springs event, so I had to once again cross it off my agenda. BUT, I had found another muddy event and I signed up for it. This one sounded doable for my beginner self. This one was all about women, princesses if you will, of all ages, sizes and fitness levels. The focus was on fun, not time or what you couldn’t do.

Here we go Muddy Princess Pittsburgh PA!!! With my Muddy Buddies teammates Debby and Heather, and cheerleader Adrienne, we left Salisbury and made our way to Switchback Mountain in Butler PA. The sun was warm, the sky an amazing blue, and with all the rain we have been having, there was sure to be plenty of mud for everyone!

I don’t want to forgot about the other pair of friends that came along: my first pair of official trail running shoes. They arrived at my door two years ago and after all we had been through together, I thought this would be a fitting place to say “goodbye”. They had served me well, never complaining at my whining and mental unloading, and bearing the brunt of my heavy footsteps on the days I carried burdens. This would not be the first encounter with mud, but it would be their last.
Before the race...I’ve got the pink laces...

...and after!

After parking the car, we made our way into the starting place to pick up our packets. There was a mix of excitement, nervousness, and joy. We were totally going to do this!! 
I think we could pass as Charlie’s Angels! What a feeling of empowerment for me to be facing a challenge and knowing I had support and friends to get me through. 
We waited and watched as other groups lined up and headed out and soon we were in the corral. We warmed up and then we were off to the MUD! The first challenge for me was getting past the fact that the water may be cold. I hate cold water. A lot. But I was pleasantly surprised by the tepid muddy water and jumped in feet first! As the mud encased my shoes and hugged my calves, I just hoped I wouldn’t lose a shoe. Debby, Heather and I stuck together as we slogged and slid our way down the rutted path with potholes to surprise you at random steps. 

The laughter was mixed with fierce determination and somehow getting mud in your face was totally okay! We had agreed not to run, but to just have fun and finish and that is just what we did! For each of us, we had an obstacle that was our “challenge” and one we celebrated the most. I have TERRIBLE balance and a simple winding, uneven balance beam that I mostly completed felt like a huge victory. The other one was a straight up tire wall. I am not a fan of heights and have a fear of falling and being injured. So, to climb up and over, clinging to tires that weren’t totally stationary, with nothing but my body keeping me from falling, was an accomplishment that left me feeling like I was a Princess Warrior. Debby conquered the teeter totter obstacle without falling and her joy was contagious. Heather climbed a crazy steep hill, using a rope at the top for assistance, got to the top of the tire wall, and was in general, a BEAST! I couldn’t have had better teammates. 

WARNING: Lots of pictures ahead! May involve copious amounts of mud, contagious joy, and may inspire you to do your own muddy obstacle course. Proceed at your own risk!

Heather nearly losing her shoe at feeling quite stuck! I was there if she needed a hand, but she is  one determined woman! She got her footing and was able to get onto the platform. Go Girl! 

When you are splashed in mud and who knows what else, and it’s in your mouth and you don’t care! And it inspires a friend to say, “ You can wipe your mouth on any part of me that is clean!!” 

“We are capable of doing so much more than we think we can. Our bodies were made for more”~Debby

“It was so worth every bruise and scrape...Thanks ladies for the experience...I loved it and can’t wait to see what kind of stuff my future holds...I am so confident now. I want to try so much more! Thanks for the encouragement...You ladies rock!
Heather, YOU ROCK!! 

“I love that we did this, that I did this. Too often I allow my fears and anxiety to hold me back. Today, I didn’t. I faced each obstacle with the mindset of ‘just go for it and don’t hold back’. The top of this wall was a little terrifying for me but I knew I could dig deeper within myself. And with friends there to yell support, I did it and I felt amazing!” 

Today I learned more about these amazing women: 
Debby, you are an encourager like no other. You smiled your way through the entire course and had a kind work for just about everybody we met. 
Heather, you have a gentle spirit and a fierce mama bear heart that lets NOTHING stand in your way. 
I love you both!

Can I just say (in case you didn’t already figure it out) that I loved this experience! It was a confidence building, anxiety reducing, friend strengthening, overall amazing kind of day! And knowing that it also supported a great cause, made it even more fun.

(From the Muddy Princess website:)

Muddy Princess cares deeply about outreach, especially women’s health issues which is why we have partnered with I Go Pink – The Breast Cancer Charities of America. We are so excited to get to work with this national organization creating awareness towards the prevention of breast cancer and offering support to those affected here in the States and in under resourced communities around the world.



P.s. How did our cheerleader, photographer, and general disliker of mud Adrienne survive the day? 

She may have bleached her shoes. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Run Your Race

Two years ago, I began this craziness called “running”. I think I knew I needed something new to get me excited about my health and fitness again, and really just wanted to see what I could do. Even 1/10th of a mile at anything more than a fast walk was a challenge for me. I’d send pictures of my ventures to my two oldest children who both ran some and they’d fill up my encouragement tank. Putting my running out there for them, and sometimes on social media, kept me more accountable to keep pushing on, to keep trying. To date, I’ve run eleven 5ks, one 10k, and on my birthday this year (June 1), I ran my first Half Marathon.

Adrienne and I, along with friend Danae, and our favorite cheerleader Gabrielle, we headed for Morgantown, WV fo the Decker’s Creek Half Marathon. We left early because we needed to pick up our packets and the website made it sound like parking could be a challenge. Can I say how proud I was in that moment as we climbed to the top of the parking garage, that we were literally almost the first ones there?! I am usually just in time (barely) or late. I outdid myself this time. I hoped that arriving first would be a sign of how the whole day would go.

There is always some pre-race jitters for me (aka: multiple trips to the porta-potty) and I was a little more nervous than usual because I know I really didn’t prepare as well for this as I should have. I had  signed up thinking, “Just walk if you need to; it’s your birthday, just do it for fun. Besides, it’s mostly downhill.” 13 miles for fun. Am I losing my mind!?! Maybe, but I was signed up and committed, so we got our packets, and headed for the buses which would take us to the trail head about 20 minutes away.

Walking in to the start, Danae, Adrienne and I were all feeling ready. We would just do what we could. Initially we had thought we would all stay together, more or less, but we literally lost Adrienne in the crowd within the first 1/10th of a mile. Danae and I stayed together for about 5 miles or so, and I tried to find Adrienne, but we finally just decided that she had gone on out ahead and we would see her at the finish. At about 5 miles in, I was beginning to feel some pain in my right hip and had to take a few walk breaks. I was able to catch up to Danae for awhile doing that, but finally it was too much.

And then those little whispers of discouragement started inside my head.

“Who told you that you could keep up?”
“You will never be faster or stronger.”
“Maybe you aren’t cut out for this.”
“ You run funny.”

Now, I don’t have a mile-by-mile dialog of how I felt, what I did to keep going, what I ate or drank, but I do know that I ran the range of emotions and physical stages from joyful energy all the way to wanting to give up. There were moments of humor, like when my Fitbit charge fell off my waistband and was at my knee on the inside of my leggings and I reached my hand down my pants to retrieve it. Danae thought I was working a muscle (like a true fellow massage therapist would!). Then there was Mile 10.

I had come out of the wooded trail and was getting so close to the finish. “Just another 5k can do this.” But I had never done more than 10 miles before. Ever. And the downhill was gone. It had been tough enough with that advantage and now it was gone. I. Was. Tired. My legs felt like heavy bags of wet sand.

“Girl, you’re done. Go home.”
“I don’t think you have it in you.”
“All those people passing you? They even started 15 minutes after you.”
“You still run funny.”

And then, there was Adrienne

I had not seen her since the start of the race, and now, she was right beside me. I thought I was hallucinating. But she was so very real and EXACTLY what I needed right then. She was the voice of encouragement that I needed and I believe God had the timing perfect. She kept me going with her steady pace. She didn’t tell me to stop, but she kept telling me to keep moving forward at my own pace. She believed I could finish this thing. She believed in me. That gave me courage to keep on. She put some fighting music on my Spotify, she made sure I had a drink of water, and a tube of applesauce. It was enough. It kept me moving ever closer to the finish.

Then, there it was. That beautiful, oh so beautiful, finish line. I finished, still running, and could hear Gabrielle and Danae cheering and shouting encouragement. I. FINISHED. MY. RACE.

What did I learn from this experience?
1) During those miles between 5-10, I had to come to grips with something: I needed to run my race, not anyone else’s. I am 49, still fairly new to this fitness and running world. I don’t run every day, some weeks I am lucky if I get one run in, and I HAVE to stop this comparison game.
2) Sometimes you don’t have to run it alone and the right persons shows up when you need them most.
3) Preparing for a race, or anything in life really, is not a bad thing. Sometimes life happens and you can’t prepare, but even having a more solid foundation would be helpful. I needed to be able to combat the enemy (discouragement and defeat) with words of affirmation and positivity. I AM A RUNNER! I AM CREATED BY GOD AND I CAN DO THIS! And actually training with a weekly plan would have probably helped with the sandbag legs and the hip pain. Lesson learned.
4) Sometimes life is more of a mind game. Am I prepared to play?
5.) I need to just run my race even if it looks like I am dancing the Charleston.

That day, I thought, “okay, I’ve done a Half, now I can cross it off my list and never do it again.” But now? I already signed up for another one. Never give up. Onward and upward.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Onward and Upward Part 2

I left you hanging just a bit with the last blog with the massage therapy thing; let me pick up where I left off, but first, I want to give a shout-out to all my fellow nurses. Last week was Nurses Week and I want to celebrate the nurses in my life who have influenced me, and to celebrate what being a nurse has meant to me. As I said in the last post, I don’t love everything about being a nurse, but what is it that I do love?
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The people. It’s people like my coworkers and the other team members like physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapists, doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants (yes, healthcare takes more than a village!). But above all, I do what I do because of my patients. I love getting to know them beyond their diagnoses and their current symptoms. I love taking time to hold a hand, to look into their eyes, to listen and learn from them. I have met so many amazing people by being a nurse that I would have never met otherwise. I love hearing the stories that made each person who they have become. But, being a nurse is one of the hardest things I have ever done. It’s worrying that I did the right thing at the right time, that I didn’t miss anything on a physical assessment, that my phlebotomy skills, my IV skills, wound care, etc are all perfect for each patient. It’s waking up in the middle of the night and wondering if I did everything I was supposed to, and trying to think if I charted everything to the best of my ability because as all nurses know, if it wasn’t charted then it wasn’t done. It’s taking time the night before a work day to look up my patients so that I know about them when I walk in their door the next day. I’m a little OCD and these are the kind of details that I stress about, that I get anxious over. For many, it’s not an issue; for me, it is. That being said, it is the hands-on, looking into the eyes part of nursing that I love, which is what led me towards massage therapy. I mean, how much more hands-on does it get?

To be able to spend 30, 60, or 90 minutes with my focus on the person, providing relief from stress, soreness, and pain is something that caught my attention about seven years ago. I’d applied to the Massage Therapy program three other times before finally deciding that if I am going to do this, then I need to. Just. Do. It. I went to a meeting at the school the day before my shoulder surgery in March 2017. I didn’t know if I’d even be able to do massage after surgery, but I thought I’d at least check it out. I knew that for the Fall 2017 semester, I wasn’t physically ready, so I was patient and then in June 2018, I took the Intro to Massage class and I knew that this was the right place for me. 

I don't believe that God has led me down any of my life’s journey without a purpose and a plan. I am grateful and excited that healthcare is so varied, and has a place for so many to find what connects with them: mind, body, and soul. I never thought I would go back to college. I never thought I’d be so excited about learning and that clinic days could be anticipated without anxiety and dread. Typing that, I am in tears. I’ve found my place and I don’t feel like a round peg in a square shaped void anymore. A round peg may fit into that space, but it’s not quite right, it is not comfortable. Now? I am a round peg in a perfectly shaped space and I fit and there isn’t emptiness on the edges.

What is ahead for me? Well, I have summer clinic in July, then back to class in August as I work towards being a licensed massage therapist after graduation in May 2020. In the meantime, I have enough hours and credits and will be able to take my MBLEx (Massage & Bodywork Licensing Examination) and to apply to be registered in the state of Maryland and Pennsylvania. This will allow me to begin working out of a spa, health club, or private business (like out of my home). Once licensed, this will open up opportunities in health care facilities such as nursing homes, clinics, hospice, and hospitals. In the meantime, as an unregistered/unlicensed student, I do Swedish and deep tissue massages at no cost, so if you are interested, let me know!

This group of people? My massage family who have become sweet friends for life!

Love as always!

Monday, May 6, 2019

Onward and Upward Part 1

A helicopter drones overhead and I am reminded of another season in my life when flights weren’t so out of the ordinary. Nights working in the NICU were my norm and calls that might end in a helicopter flight to provide care for a sick baby were always a possibility, albeit not a welcome one. While I did not completely conquer that fear, I was able to at least contain it and do what I needed to do. Yes, it was a season, now past.

I see students over at a picnic table and I wonder how I ended up back in college. I had thought this season in my life was over as well. I have been a nurse for 16 years and after graduating at Allegany College of MD in 2003 and then Waynesburg University in 2007, I said, “ENOUGH!” My oldest daughter had informed me at that time that all I did was “go to work, go to school, and sleep.” She was right. (Except I did eat too. I love food. Not sure how she left that part out?) At that juncture in my life, I decided to set my focus more towards family and work, eliminating the school part. Did I really need the Masters degree? No.

Fast forward to 2014. I made the decision to leave the NICU and worked home pediatrics for about a year along with case management for another agency, and then did care coordination from home full-time before burning out, burning up, and breaking down in 2016. I didn’t want to say it. I didn’t want to believe it of myself. I was ashamed and embarrassed that parts of being a nurse, a wife, a mom, a woman at that season in my life caused my anxiety to rise up unrelentingly, bulldozing and destroying who I was. I didn’t fully understand why it left me struggling to breathe, why getting out of bed each day felt like I was carrying twice my body weight on my back, why I wanted to give up. Logically, it made no sense. On the outside, I was “together”, but on the inside, a different story was being told. Anxiety and depression are sometimes sneaky like that. Or I just didn’t want to let others see that side of me.

With my family supporting me, I took time off from working 1-3 jobs at a time, and I took care of myself. I rested, I was creative, I had shoulder surgery to fix a rotator cuff repair, I started running. Yes, I was busy, but it was good. I felt like my brain rewired itself a bit, and after 7 months, I was ready to take steps back into nursing. I was cautious, maybe overly so, but I didn’t want to go back to where I had been mentally, emotionally, physically. I took a job in part-timeHome Health and in June, it will have been 2 years.

In the process of doing Home Health, I have learned much about myself. I have realized that I will always be a nurse in some sense, but that I don’t love every part of being a nurse and THAT IS OKAY! I have seen with anxiety as a roommate, sometimes loud and obnoxious and other times quietly awaiting a moment to pounce, that nursing contributed to that stress in ways I had not anticipated. In that time period of trying to learn to love being a nurse,  I learned that there is so many more ways to bring about a healing environment and that is where massage therapy jumped into my world. And there you have it.
Well, there may be just a bit more to this story and this is just the beginning. be continued...onward & upward...


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.".