Tuesday, June 19, 2012

And That's Ok...

You are the shadow that's cast when the sun shines on me
And that's ok, because I'm still standing in the light

You are the tiny pebble in my shoe, as I walk the beach shore's edge
And that's ok, because the air is fresh and the breeze is pleasant during my journey

You are the pain in my eyes in those pictures documenting important events
And that's ok, because the warmth in my heart produces a genuine smile

You are the stitch in my side as I run this race called life
And that's ok, because I press past it and don't quit

My struggles are key to appreciating the positives that surround me

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This Race Is Not For The Swift

I completed my first marathon today. Six months ago when we (my family) realized it would take place on the anniversary of my grandmother's death, we decided we would all train independently and run it together. We set up a group website to support and encourage each other. It was laced with beautiful images of my grandmother and our family from throughout years.
Our lovely matriarch 
As months passed, the group began to waiver in their commitment. Life is busy and complicated for all of us. We're scattered all over the state. Most of us are parents and or spouses. Life happens. With four children and a hard working busy husband my ability to train was unstable and it stalled a couple of times. In these last weeks, I knew that it was going to be a combination of prayer, faith, honor, love, and good old fashioned determination that was going to have to propel me over the finish line.
My running shoes

 I was going to do this race even if I had to run it alone. If I had to stop and sit in someone's lawn chair for a rest, I was going to finish this race. If I walked the whole way and the stadium was locked by the time I got there, I was going to get it done! Somewhere along the way my motivation had changed. My purpose became selfish. For the first time in a long time, I was doing something for myself. I blog accomplishments about our family business. I blog the achievements of my children. I am connected to those accolades. I work hard to ensure the success of my family. For once I needed something more. I needed a PERSONAL accomplishment. I needed to do something important and impressive just for me.
Hiking over to the start of the race

What started as 8 participants dwindled to 2 marathoners. My sister made the four hour 240 mile drive. In talking to her, I realized we were on the same page. She was looking at this marathon as a pivotal point for change in her life also. There were moments along the route we were held hands and encouraged each other. However, we were in this for independent personal reasons.
I spotted my family with about a mile to go

As I approached the finish line, I heard the announcer call my name. I owned that moment. I savored those few precious seconds. It felt so much better than I even anticipated. I am not fueled or motivated by looking at what's on the other side of the fence. I like my yard. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out how I can be better and give more. I want to leave a positive impact on those around me. I am my own worst critic, and for today I was also my best and loudest cheerleader.
Crossing the finish line!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Got Something Folks (Pt.2)

So  I was rendered fairly speechless at the rite of passage my son's recently crossed. That was just a whole lot of business for me to process. I have spent the better part of 15 years working with adolescents in one capacity or another. Be it church youth ministry with my husband, or our family business a local soccer club. I have seen kids develop from toddlers and elementary aged children turn into everything from military men, mothers, and convicted felons.

I am quite aware that there is nothing new under the sun. However, there is a totally different emotional, mental, and spiritual investment that you place in your own children. To watch my boys stand on stage and speak with refined intelligence and respectability was almost overwhelming.

I am proud of who they have become thus far. Both of them received what amounts to a scholarship to obtain their associate degrees while they are still in high school. They start advanced coursework this fall to complete that goal. One has already been granted a 4 year scholarship to The Ohio State University upon graduation. To say we are proud is quite frankly an gross under-representaion of how we feel.

I really needed to explore my "sad" feelings and try to figure them out. It all boils down to this: the largest most important part of who I am right now is a mother. What that has meant up until now is that I am the one who is coddling and nurturing my boys. I am the steel magnolia who doesn't bend or break in matters significant to them, that I could easily solve. My guidance and influence was paramount in matters of socialization, spirituality, and discipline.

In gradual procession, this role has been shifting. Life has become less linear and more complex. Thus my role and all that I have known is shifting as well. There are less opportunities to simply sit and hold them they way I have always loved. I have to make do with a hug goodbye and a kiss goodnight. My ability to step in and mediate, advocate, or regulate dramatic events in their lives is waining. The lessons I have taught about making tough responsible decisions, taking responsibility for your actions, and standing up for yourself must be put into action.  I realize the need to titrate my influence and see....but more importantly let them see what they know. I am confident they have the potential to do very well in life. The question is will they DECIDE to do so? It's time for their successes and even failures to be attributed more to themselves and less to me.

These changes are difficult. But they are also necessary. Their day has come. Logically, I know that my role is only evolving and no less important. There is still much work to be done to ensure their success. I am ready, willing, and able, to transition into my new duties as a mom of young men. Right after this one last cry......

Saturday, June 9, 2012


So I guess this years birthday is what is known as a landmark. I'm feeling very good about it. Coming up on this year, I have been bombarded with so many life lessons. I've had lessons on friendship, love, parenting, marriage, faith. You name the challenge, it happened to me!

I started checking the mirror for gray hair just because there were times I felt so stressed. I thought surely this is going to start aging me. Luckily, I appear to be some type of genetic freak like my mother and grandmother. The older they get the further away from their actual age they look. People regularly guess my mother to be in her 40's. It's nothing for someone to assume she is 15 years younger than she actually is. My husband said to me the other day, "You promised to grow old with me, but your not aging." How sweet is he?!? We know in the grand scheme of life looking youthful is not that big of a deal. It still feels good though! :)

At any rate, my hot date took me on a lovely train tour for my birthday. As we wound though the beautiful countryside, I sat and reflected on my life and all of the circumstances that have shaped me into who I currently am:

The road I have traveled has been bumpy at times. But I would be an ungrateful idiot to act like it hasn't been a really really good life. I have learned to focus on what I have right now. I have learned to truly appreciate it. If I'm not happy with what I have, why would I be happy with the next thing I am chasing? Please don't confuse my words with settling. It's important to have goals in life. It's important to climb upward and stretch the limits of your talent and live the best way you know how. However, that is not the way many people are living their life right now. 

I see people chasing titles just to say they have it. Yet, the title provide no sense of fulfillment. I see people chasing money so they can buy whatever they want. But they are too tired to enjoy what they have. They ignore their loved ones and miss out on important life events for the sake of raking in dollars. They show off material goods that they soon tire of just to say that they have it, or had it first. I see people associating with others because society says that person, or that crowd is desirable. Yet they have little or no connection with said person(s) and are completely unfulfilled and lonely. What kind of life is that? 

I only have this one shot at life. I get it right sometimes. Other times I totally mess up. But I refused to be unhappy, distracted, and WASTE my time, energy, resources, and most importantly my heart. If it's not going to edify me, I'm not going to be bothered with it. There was a time in which I would throw away all of the aforementioned things on that list to get what I thought I wanted. That time was called my youth. I am not longer that. 

My level of life satisfaction is currently higher than it's been....well, ever actually. I finally FEEL grown and confident. I feel like I have a good understanding of myself. I feel knowledge transitioning into wisdom in certain areas of life. Although, I am wise enough to know that I actually know very little. I am wise enough to know to seek out the guidance of others who know more than me and can counsel and give me greater perspective.

Life is full of unknown variables and unforeseen circumstances. I'm no longer trying to control so many aspects of it. I just want to be prepared and have available to me the resources I need to deal with what comes my way. I believe that just like the train I was riding, I'm "on the right track." Although I can only see so far ahead, I have confidence I am going where I'm supposed to go.