Trying to dance and sing along my run

This is a really, really tough week for me. I promise I will go into details but I feel I need to address some issues personally first before I tell my story. That said, part of the journey I am on is because God has called me to tell my story, to stand up and to reach out to help others. It still scares me to death and as I approach a HUGE healing moment in my life, I am a whirlwind of emotions and that is impacting my running confidence.

Add that into trying to do a zillion things and I am one overwhelmed, frazzled mom trying desperately to run long. I thought I would on Monday but at 10:00 am I finally ran just a mile to keep my streak alive. I did manage to get back on the treadmill later to run an additional 7 miles and after logging some miles, I plugged in my tunes. It has been awhile since I have run to music as recently I have been running and listening to Immaculate Heart Radio.

It was nice to run to music again and a funny thing happened. That Man started playing and all I wanted to do was dance along. That is pretty hard to do while on the treadmill by the way.

And the music kept lifting my spirits and darling daughter was amused by my occassional outbursts of song while Call Me, Elvira, and the cup song popped up to motivate me to keep running.

I would love to say the happy feeling I got at the completion of the run has carried over but yesterday I wasn't sure I could make the 5 miles on my plan. I ended up running 5.5 miles but every step was heavy and it was pure determination that drove me. Today I was hesitant again but still ran 5.5 miles and it was stories of flooding in Texas that propelled me forward. How can I complain or not find any happiness in being able to run outside on a beautiful cloudy day when others are facing awful flooding? On the bright side, all my family in Texas reported in to me today that they are okay but I will keep praying for them and all of those impacted by these storms. Will you join me?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I am able to run.

Daily Bible Verse: And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. ~ Colossians 3:15


You are a runner

I know. A silly question but over the years I have heard the following comment so many times it
makes me cringe. "I'm not a runner." Okay, there are so many variations but it can come from those who truly do not lace up and run at all and that is fine but what makes me cringe is when it comes from someone who has just run.

There seems to be this stigma attached that you have to run at x-pace or for x-long to consider yourself a runner. Some feel they aren't a runner because they don't race. I am not here to criticize anyone because trust me, I was there. I was a runner for many years before I called myself a runner. I don't know when the light bulb switched in my head that yes, I am a runner. On that note, I get equally irked when dear hubby says he is going out for a jog. When I say, nope, you are running he replies, nope, I'm not running today, I'm jogging. In his mind he has a connection between pace and at some point his "run" is fast enough to be called a run. The thing is, he is a fastie so his "jog" is someone else's speed work and they are both runs. Why differentiate the two?

I try not to sweat the small stuff in life and I do know there are more important things going on in the world versus whether something is a jog or a run. I am on the verge of something really big and it is making me nervous, excited, scared, and a whole other host of emotions. Perhaps today's post is my way of distracting myself from the BIG to focus on something else but there is also a desire to lift people up.

If you lace up and head out to put one foot in front of the other at a pace faster for you, you are a runner. I don't even care if you do run/walk breaks, you are a runner. Don't let someone else's pace or distance make you think less of yourself. Running is beautiful in that you just need to compete against yourself (and please be kind to yourself and realize, as you get older your pace may change).

I participate in races but even then, I am competing against myself. I am no Meb and am not running to win the race but I am running to win my race and my prize is different. It isn't the first place ribbon (although it is nice when I place in my age division and I thank God for those moments) but the greater prize is knowing I did my best, I overcame my self doubts, I tackled a new distance or a new event that scared me. I didn't give up. Race medals don't last forever. Trust me, I have many corroding in my room. But the prize of running for a purpose, a cause, God, never corrodes.

Are you a runner?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the healing opportunities in my life.

Daily Bible Verse: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24


10 things to do besides watch TV


In a follow-up to my post yesterday on life without cable I thought I would give you my list of 10 things you can do with your kiddos that are not electronically based. Trust me, your kiddos will have fun and so will you because I feel many adults get so wrapped up in life that they forget to stop and smell the roses.

  1. Bake/Cook - This is a means to get two things done at once - sometimes. Getting your kids in meal preparation not only teaches them valuable life skills but also increases the odds that they will eat the veggies, etc. in their meals as they have a vested interest. Baking may be a add-in to your daily list of things to do but trust me, it is worth it to see the smile on your kiddos face as they learn to measure ingredients, stir it all together, and have something homemade to eat. This past month I have even "surprised" darling daughter by starting a batch of cookies after dinner so she could have fresh, out of the oven, warm cookies for afters.
  2. Pull out a board game - What happened to board games? When I was a kid I was always getting together with my friends, or siblings, to play a game but now kids have all these electronic gadgets in their hands and I wonder if it really is good. Don't get me wrong, darling daughter has games on my phone and computer she plays. I strive for educational games but some are just for fun games but we still have a good selection of board games in our hall closet. We have a couple of cooperative games that she really loves and that I bought years ago when winning the game was the big focus for her. It isn't about winning but having fun. We also have Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Candy Land, Scrabble, Rummikub, Dominoes, Clue and Operation. Lots to choose from!
  3. Be creative and get artistic - Darling daughter LOVES art and we have lots of supplies that allow us to scrapbook, color, paint, and we recently added in air dry clay. She also has play dough, beads, and foam art supplies. Sometimes we do a two-in-one and turn an art project (card making) into a note to be sent to a loved one to keep handwritten notes alive.
  4. Take a trip down memory lane - Every year I make darling daughter a memory book of her life thanks to Shutterfly. I have also made a few other random books over the years and this makes trips down memory lane possible with a visual element. The memory books always include notes from me, quotes from her, or other stories so they are more than pictures but a tale of our life.
  5. Garden - We love to garden and start many things from seeds in a small greenhouse in our house. Darling daughter gets to pick what she grows with my final okay. I only steer her away from things less than likely to grow in our neck of the woods or things we may not have space for. For example, I don't see a field of corn growing in our backyard due to limited space. We then transplant the plants outside together and have lots of gardens around our home. The veggie garden, my serenity garden, her blooming blossoms, and our happy trails. Yes, we have named our garden plots.
  6. Watch the birds or other wildlife - This can be done from inside or outside our home due to where we placed our bird feeder and sometimes we go outside on the porch with our binoculars to get a closer look. I can't even explain how relaxing it is to stop and watch nature and it is so good for the kiddos.
  7. Clean up - You heard me, clean up. Yes, I am listing house cleaning as something to do and who is going to argue with Mary Poppins and a spoonful of sugar does helping the medicine go down? When chores aren't a punishment but something you do together, they can become fun. We don't do this all the time but I will involve darling daughter in changing bed sheets, she gets to play in them and helps make the bed. She is also eager to help vacuum, dust, or mop the floors but you need to remember to relax. A 7 year old isn't going to vacuum like me but why discourage her help and every little bit helps. And how else will our kiddos learn to do these things if they are not given the opportunity? P.S. She does a much better job of using attachments and vacuuming chairs than I ever do!
  8. Take care of pets - I know this won't work if you don't have pets but perhaps you can get a fish! We have had pet fish since darling daughter was 2 and as of now, our last fish went to Heaven and we are a fishless family but that is okay. We have a bunny outside, a parakeet inside, and a guinea pig inside. We have plenty of pets to take care of and after darling daughter proved she could help take care of a fish, other pets were added. But having a pet is a cost and responsibility but I see the pro's in it. Darling daughter is learning that sometimes she needs to feed the pets before playing and she gets the joy of playing with them. P.S. The guinea pig is the easiest pet to play and interact with. He is a charm and I am completely in love with him!
  9. Play spontaneously - Have no plan and play! This can be inside or outside and can help build imagination. Darling daughter loves to pull out ALL of her dolls and play school or to go outside and play in the playhouse serving up meals to all her willing participants. I have even mixed this in with chores that I have to do and turn my laundry folding, cooking, etc. into a lesson for her students as she takes them on a field trip to see me! But it is also important to sometimes let go of all I have to do and just play with her giving her 100% of my attention. At the end, I always feel more relaxed and energized!
  10. Study the bible - My faith is important to me and darling daughter sees that. She asked for her own bible and bible study book to be "just like mom" and I gladly got her what she needed. She also has some bible study coloring books and story books. We have a whole assortment of supplies we can turn to when we want to be together and explore our faith. The secret is to make it fun and engaging!
It is easy to fill a day and a weekend with fun activities that don't glue you to a screen and I strive to incorporate them all. You know I am not against watching good programming or playing a game here and there. Everything in moderation is the foundation on my life but sometimes I find you connect the best to others when you just hit the "off" button and talk. On that note, I am notorious for pausing a movie so we can talk about what we are seeing or I can quiz darling daughter on what she is learning and incorporate deeper thinking. Last night when we were watching "In the Company of Whales" I paused the movie a zillion times (okay, slight exaggeration) to ask darling daughter on what other threats she thinks whales face, to add more information on a whale (I am a marine biologist), and to ask her what she thinks about scientific whaling (she thought it was a lie to allow them to still kill whales). A two hour movie can last days in our house!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunities in my life.

Daily Bible Verse: You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. ~ Deuteronomy 6:7


Life without cable TV

Just after the Superbowl I got rid of cable TV. I was counting down the days to pull the plug but held on a wee bit longer so dear hubby could see the end of football season. To be completely honest, the decision was purely financial. Darling daughter was getting more into horseback riding lessons and I needed to stay on top of the family budget and one thing to go out the door --- cable TV.

It was an expense I saw no real value in. So many times nothing worth watching was on TV and the family could end up watching less than prime entertainment at the end of the day. Darling daughter was worried as she did have her morning cartoon routine she was used to watching after I said bye-bye to head to work and while she waited for dear hubby to bring her to school. I told her not to fret. We will still have streaming Netflix (I am grandfathered in on a great rate right now) and I added in Amazon Prime. It had benefits beyond streaming video to music and free shipping without orders having to reach $35. Since I live on Maui, free shipping is a BIG thing and not having a $35 target would save me some money. Yes, I was guilty at times to add something in just to get to the free shipping. Not a good budgeting plan. And yes, the Amazon Prime yearly fee plus Netflix (which I was already paying) still saved me significantly from what cable TV cost me.

Fast forward to today and I am so glad we no longer have cable TV. The programs we do watch are selected perfectly for content and what we want to see as a family. We are loving documentaries and faith-based programming. On both platforms, I have put movies into our lists so darling daughter can go to the approved viewing list and pick something to watch. She is growing in faith through Adventures in Odyssey and learning about so much other things! Plus many times, the TV is off while we do other family based activities or just have music streaming in adding calmness to the home. In fact, just this past Sunday I put on some Christian tunes to listen to while we were enjoying Mother's Day morning and getting ready to church. The home had a whole new atmosphere and the typical pre-church battles were diminished. It is hard to be grumpy with calming music playing in the background.

I am not one of those moms who say no TV or set a timer as I truly feel there is good and wholesome programming out there that can benefit the family. The other day we tried something new and tuned into a cooking show featuring a grandma and we got to learn about her life and got some traditional cooking tips that she grew up with. I even learned a couple of new ideas that can be incorporated into my lentil soup. And last night we got inspired to make our own dumplings...and I added some extra flavor to my lentil soup! Darling daughter loved the meal and devoured it readily! And we treated ourselves to dinner and a movie while watching God's Not Dead.

A triple win for me!

We had a wholesome meal incorporating some new cooking tips we learned online, watched a faith-based movie, and discussed throughout the movie and after about the choices we make and how we can honor God.

Daily Gratitude: I am glad I had the courage to speak up on behalf of our budget and get rid of cable TV. I am glad I didn't cave it when the family resisted. I am glad I remained faithful all would be good.

Daily Bible Verse: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~ Philippians 4:8