An open letter to all moms

I have been sitting on this post for awhile as I attempted to wrap my head around my feelings. But after some prayer and reflection, I decided yes, I am going to write to all moms. This was stirred from a comment I received at a birthday party darling daughter attended this past Saturday. I was talking to the some of the other moms and was told once again how easy I have it that I am a working mom.

Dear Moms,

First, as a mom myself I want to stress that becoming a mom changes things....in so many wonderful ways but sometimes it can be tough. This is the case for every single mom. I will never say any one mom has it easier than another mom. We each have our own hurdles to overcome whether we are a stay at home mom or a working mom. The grass is never greener on the other side.

Second, as moms we should strive to raise each other up, to support one another, and to express words of kindness. It really does take a village to raise a child.

With that said, I want to tell you a bit of my story as a working mom because I am often told "how easy" I have it since I can get out of the home and away from kids, etc. I think I know where these comments stem from -- the opportunity to talk adult-to-adult but in all reality, that can happen in all avenues of life. But I get it, every mom needs a break from time to time I just find it ironic that my "break" is going to work.

The first time I had to leave darling daughter behind and go to work my heart was crushing. My younger sister was in town to help the transition. My first work day was only 4 hours instead of 8 hours but it was the longest 4 hours in my life. I chose to breastfeed and darling daughter was refusing bottles with breast milk. My darling was not eating while I worked. My hope was that this would be resolved in the week my sister was in town but it didn't. Darling daughter was a stubborn one.

Dear hubby ended taking a month off of work (except he worked on weekends) as we decided we didn't want to send darling daughter to daycare until she was accepting a bottle. It took another week or two for her to do so. I cried every day on my way to work, I spent countless hours on the phone with the pediatrician who assured me darling daughter would not starve, I nursed like crazy at night when darling daughter played catch up on her diet, I pumped as much as I could at work, and I counted the minutes until I could get home to her. Thankfully she was with family.

Then it was time to start daycare and I had to get used to new people taking care of my gem. I started checking out places while I was pregnant so at least I knew the staff and had many visits with darling in and out of my tummy. Ms. Ada was a gem! But we had to work in the additional $600+ a month for day care for two days a week, which meant dear hubby worked weekends and we NEVER had a family day off together. This work schedule continued until darling daughter was 4 years old. That is a long time to go just seeing your husband at night but it was worth it to ensure darling daughter had as much time with family as possible...but our marriage paid the price and two years later, we are still striving to recover and get back to where we were.

It is tough because many times it is like we are two single parents living in the home. I am up dark and early to get to work so I can get off in time to pick darling daughter up from school. Before I leave in the morning I put away clean dishes, start coffee for dear hubby, start my hot tea, make breakfast or write a note for darling daughter depending on if she is awake, and get her school lunch ready. I used to make her breakfast too but she has that down now. Dear hubby just needs to get her dressed and in the car. After work I put away the next batch of clean dishes (thankfully dear hubby usually washes the breakfast dishes and his late night snack dishes), make lunches, make dinner, ensure darling daughter gets her homework done, squeeze in exercise to keep me sane, and ensure we have mommy-daughter cuddle time. We also have pets to feed, plants to water, and chores to be down. Saturdays are major chores and errands days as I strive to leave Sundays, our family days, as open as possible but alas, Sundays are full of food prep and many times, more yard work or laundry. We just try to do it as a family as most nights by the time I see dear hubby I am wiped out. If I manage to get darling daughter to bed early we may have an hour alone together.

As a working mom I miss out on a lot. Joining the PTA was fruitless as the meetings are at 8:30 am and I am at work. I can't help out in the classrooms and I am unable to chaperone. Fortunately in preschool the teachers gave me stuff I could do at home to feel I was giving back. This isn't the case anymore. Teachers want helpers in the class so they have an extra set of hands. I get that. I do. But I still miss a lot and when I strive to get to some things, like award ceremonies, it means taking time off of work. Furlough days actually become blessings in disguise. If I can't be paid for a day I might as well use it to see award ceremonies or to be off on school vacation days. Thank God my company has limited furlough days but does let me use them where I need them.

No school days are a juggle and dear hubby and I go back and forth using our vacation days to stay at home with darling daughter. We both want to do this and it can be a "fight" for who gets what day. But it also means, vacation days are used up for routine care versus going somewhere....but then, we really don't have much disposable income for that. We live on Maui, the cost of living is high, and we must consider that our "vacation".

As a working mom I have also had to lower my standards. My furniture may stay dusty longer than it should, the floor may need to swept and vacuumed, the laundry may be piling up, and the mirrors may be spotted and blurry. I live in orderly chaos. As a tidy person by nature, and perhaps a bit compulsive, this is hard to bear personally but priorities have to take place. I put more weight on cooking a home cook meal versus sweeping the floor. Yes, the floors will get cleaned, the tub scrubbed, and laundry put away...somewhat. I have accepted that darling daughter may not keep things folded in her drawers but if the shirts are in the right drawer, I am happy. Beds are half-made with covers folded down since that is what I can get dear hubby and darling daughter to do in the mornings but the sheets are always cleaned as they should be.

Stay at home moms, yes, you may miss being in an office full of adults and adult conversation but trust me, you won't miss the office politics and I envy you that you may have an easier time going to your kids performances in that you don't have to put in a vacation request each and every time. But I feel you work just as hard as me. Perhaps some of the things I let go to the wayside are a bit more tidier in your house...or not. Perhaps you have some extra time to do home schooling, bake for your kid's class, or join play groups....or not. Perhaps you are just like me in feeling that some days you are hanging on by a thread struggling to get everything done. In all reality, I think that last sentence describes us all. As moms, we are always striving to do the best we can to take care of our families and that is what unites us. We are all doing our best and I am certain many of us are feeling we are not doing all we could or should and perhaps, we are looking over at that other mom and thinking the grass is a bit greener over there. It isn't.

Love and hugs to all moms!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for darling daughter and dear hubby.
Daily Bible Verse: And so train the young woman to love their husbands and children. ~ Titus 2:4


Motivation Monday - Who do you run for?

For some of you it may already be Tuesday as I am a wee bit behind on my Motivation Monday - but that is all part of life. Sometimes you hit road bumps, 900 + emails at work and a race series to plan, and your original intentions go to the wayside. But through all of this....I have running.

Running is my source of sanity, my reprieve from stress, my time to get my creative and/or problem-solving juices flowing, my time to reflect on my purpose in life. There is a lot that goes into my daily runs beyond putting one foot in front of the other and my runs have a higher purpose that goes beyond myself.

For some it may be scary to have so much riding on a run - but I run for many reasons all at once and all those reasons combined bring me to a higher place of happiness on my runs. Yes, I find extreme happiness even in the tough runs and even if I do not get that sought after adrenaline rush of runner's high.

First and foremost, I run to honor God. Without Him I would not be here running each and every day. I run for my family. Trust me, they want me to be more at peace. I run for Toby and Down syndrome awareness. It feels good running knowing that there is a boy and his family in Nebraska cheering you on each and every step. I look for things along my run to share with him, stories to tell, and just some plain updates on my life. I often question how he is doing, feeling, and experiencing in school. 

But we each have different reasons to why we run just like we each have different paces and different races. The reasons may vary but the end result is the same -- we are running to be better people and I honestly believe through running we each can make a HUGE positive impact on the world.

So tell me, who do you run for?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful we found a break from the rain yesterday to enjoy a whale watch.
Daily Bible VerseArise, for it is your task, and we are with you; be strong and do it. ~ Ezra 10:4


Tuesday Tunes

Aloha and Happy Tuesday!

No deep thoughts today coming from me. In fact, all I can think of is running, running, running and this cough totally vanishing from my life. I will be heading out the door soon to hit the roads running a short little run today as I have TONS to do at work and I would not complain if this song popped up randomly on my play list today.....

Everything at Once by Lenka. In fact, even when we hear it before one of darling daughter's movies I stop want I am doing and dance along with the song and my daughter. LOVE IT!

Now help me build my play list, tell me a song that makes you want to head out the door and run?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for songs with a good, solid beat.
Daily Bible Verse: Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. ~ James 5:13


Motivation Monday: The Martin Luther King Version

I love that at Sunday School yesterday the teacher brought up Martin Luther King Jr. and asked the kids to think of him today when they were off of school. To remember him and to be kind and friendly to others. I also loved that when the teacher asked questions about the day that darling daughter raised her hand and did a great job explaining who Martin Luther King Jr. was. Way to go darling daughter! Yes, I sometimes hang out in the corner during her class doing my own bible study but it is hard not to listen in here and there.

With that said, I think today is the perfect day to remind myself, and others, that it is important to be kind to others and more importantly, sometimes we need to put others before ourselves. As a mom I am sure many other moms get this. We tend to do it to the extreme sometimes. I think mothers often forget that yes, they still do need to take care of themselves. I still cringe from the guilt I felt many times going out to run when darling daughter wanted me to stay. In fact, yesterday as I "mourned" the race I couldn't run darling daughter was quick to let me know we got to spend more time together. Yes, that was indeed wonderful and I was quick to remind her later that more time together doesn't mean more sass.

But seriously, I truly feel an individual can find more happiness and peace by putting others first, by thinking of what others need, by helping others, and by giving back to the community. If this wasn't the case, why would there be so many volunteer opportunities? Why would so many elders in our community volunteer after retirement? Why would I see on a daily basis a handful of volunteers coming back into my office to help day in and day out? Why? 

Because people do want to make a difference. We do! Don't you?

I know I do and if I focus too much on personal goals I begin to feel pretty empty inside. Yay! I achieved this goal but in all reality, does it matter? Does it make a real impact on society? At the end of the day (aka my life) will I be, yay! I achieved that personal goal? I'm not convinced.

I am more convinced that I will remember the people who came into my life and who made a change in me through their loving impact on my life. I really hope I will remember the times I gave to others in need and hopefully helped lift a soul that needed some extra love, patience, and kindness.

We are blessed to live when there is no more segregation but I can't say there is complete acceptance. To be honest, I was about to type we have integrated schools but do we? I couldn't help but pause my fingers over my keyboard when I thought of Toby and Down syndrome and the fight for inclusion for those with disabilities. We have come a long way, don't get me wrong, but we still have so much further to go.

Who will you reach out to today and help...even if it is just the gift of your smile?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to have Toby in my life as my running buddy.
Daily Bible Verse: We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. ~ Romans 15:1


Honolulu Marathon Race Report

It has been almost a month since I ran the Honolulu Marathon. Can you believe it? Can you believe I haven't written my race report yet? It isn't that I haven't wanted to, it is just because I have been crazy busy juggling a million things but with another marathon 5 sleeps away, I figured I better get this race report written.

Due to last minute childcare issues, dear hubby turned from runner to cheerleader to watch darling daughter while I ran the race. He won the "Husband of the Year" award, trust me, he did. And he may not realize it but it paid off in my Christmas shopping for him when I bought him new running shoes and a GPS running watch.

I knew rain was in the forecast but the percentage seemed low and I was optimistic, or in denial, as I was certain it would be a non-issue. As I walked out of the hotel with my family the morning of with nothing on but my race gear I realized how wrong I was. It was raining. Not too heavy but rain nonetheless. Thank goodness I did have enough sense to tuck a ziplock bag in my pocket just in case. I moved my phone into it. Yes, it has a water resistant case but I am the type of gal that wants to be double confident. Killing a phone isn't in my budget.

We got to the start just in time with some speed walking. No time for a final pit stop. Just get in place and get ready to go. I talked to a couple that were running their first marathon. They were excited and nervous and worried about time. I told them to relax, enjoy their journey, and that they are guaranteed a PR. No pressure. Have fun. That seemed to help them and I moved away a bit to get centered. I like to say a prayer or two before I run mainly to remember how lucky I am, that running is a blessing, and that so much is out of my control. With a bang the race started!

By that I mean, we started slowly moving forward walking to the start. I am sure somewhere way up the elites and others were running but not us. We were a mob of marathon runners walking and bumping to the start. I had my phone in my hand since I pocket it after I hit the start when I cross the starting mat and a text came in. It was from my buddy's mom. It took a few seconds for the message to sink fully into my brain. My buddy was on the way to the ER as he was throwing up blood! He just had surgery a week or so earlier and had a tough recovery and my prayers went straight out to him and his family. In that moment nothing mattered except Toby being okay. I told God I would gladly give up a PR for him to be okay. I would embrace each challenge and run strong for him and pray for him. I texted his mom back, crossed the starting mat, pocketed my phone, and started running. How lucky I felt that I had just given her my cell number in case she ever needed to get in touch with me in a hurry.

It was a zigzag due to the crowded course and the amazing number of runners who were already walking the start. The Honolulu Marathon has race time corrals but they are not "policed" and you always have groups of walking people at the start that become roadblocks. I have heard other runners complain about this for years but in the past two years it never bugged me much. I guess I never hit as may roadblocks. I was zigzagging like crazy for over 2 miles when it hit me. I am running fast and getting nowhere. I am wasting energy as my forward pace is nothing spectacular due to all the zigzagging and I had to be super careful on the wet roads. I accepted the slower pace hoping soon I would find a good flow.

On the bright side, once I got to Diamond Head and the climb up it wasn't as crowded as previous years but you still were in a mob of runners and maintaining the pace you want was difficult. And the rain continued. Yes, there were some breaks but at times it got heavier. I am not a rain loving gal and running a marathon in the rain was becoming a journey more than a race. I wanted to run strong and happy, I continued to pray for Toby, I knew I had another marathon coming up on January 18th, I consoled myself that at least it wasn't hot, and I ran on at a nice pace until around mile 9 when my stomach got mad. At mile 10 I took a pit stop, which is something I typically don't do. Since I was stopped anyhow to take care of business I texted my little sis to let her know about Toby and to extend his prayer circle. She said OK and I said, I gotta keep running. And I did. I ran on but slowed my pace to let my stomach settle. I have no idea what set it off that day and will never know. Sometimes things just happen.

The Honolulu Marathon always brings a smile to my face because in the midst of all the hardship you get to see the elites running back and that is always inspirational to me. The rain continued and there were some serious wind gusts here and there. At one time a gust created a mini tornado with all the cups on the road and I literally leaned forward with all my weight into the headwind to avoid getting knocked backwards...and I ran on. I didn't like the gusts much and not for what you would think. Yeah, headwinds are a bummer but I didn't like them because they left me chilled to the bone and it took awhile for my running to warm me back up again. I was cold and wet many times throughout the race. I thought happy, warm thoughts.

At mile 19 I received the best text ever. Toby was being released from the ER and was heading home! I texted I was on mile 19 and still running for him. I barely walked at all this race -- only to text here and a few minutes later when my buddy's mom texted back words of support. It felt great going into the final stretch with such great news! I knew I had to run as best as I could until the end. And I did.

Towards the end we did see a couple of spectacular rainbows and the sun did come out and bless us. Those were happy moments. Moments when language barriers melt and a Japanese man can turn to me, say something, and I can tell by the sound of his voice and the point of his hand that he was equally awed by the majestic rainbow that we were running "into".  

Once I was in the true final stretch I kept my eyes out for darling daughter and dear hubby. When I finally saw them, and darling daughter holding up our sign nice and high, I smiled and waved. At least I think I waved. My memory there is vague. And I ran forward quite happy to cross the finish line. I was ecstatic! I ran the best I could, I ran for Toby, I prayed for Toby, and my prayers were answered. My little buddy was okay. I didn't get a PR but I didn't care. I ran a marathon in the rain!!!!

My time was 4:20:37. I can't promise you all the photos I shared are in race order. I can guarantee the first at the start in the dark and the finish photos. Everything else in between, just go with the flow!

And on race day one particular song touched my heart like crazy as it made me think of my Dad. My eyes welled up with tears as I remembered this song playing at his memorial but I quickly dried my eyes knowing he was with me...running. In honor of Tuesday Tunes, the song was "On Eagle's Wings". It came on about mid-way in the race and was just what I needed to hear to lift me up and to remind me why I run....it is what my spirit is meant to do.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for every finish line I cross.
Daily Bible Verse: I can do all things through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13

Writing today's report has brought happy tears to my eyes.


Motivational Monday: Validation

Today's Motivational Monday has a parenting twist but trust me, it can be applied to so many different avenues of life.

Yesterday the proverbial light bulb went off in my head. This was after hours of grumbling, whining, and just plain old belly aching from darling daughter. Dinner was approaching, we had had a great, eventful day, and I was ready to send her to her room until she could find something nice to say. In fact, I stated as much as I felt my annoyance level increasing. She whined she wanted to be with me and the last thing I wanted to do at that moment was cuddle a complaining little girl. But instead of reacting I choose to respond.

I looked at her knowing that time out's never work. Things just escalate instead of diffuse. In fact, most time out's I call are because I need a breather before tackling the issue at hand. I am blessed that my child is good natured the vast majority of the time but when she isn't, watch out! That Irish and Scottish blood comes boiling out of her ears and I still remember the day when she was 3 or 4, in a time out, me calmly telling her she can come out of her room when she settles down, and her screaming back "I don't know how!". Anger control - that is a lesson even some adults are still aiming to master and her insight has changed things along the way. My goal shifted on that day to helping her unwind and calm herself down. To teach her these valuable life skills.

Back to yesterday, my whining, complaining little girl obviously had a lot of her mind and in a calm voice I said, "Okay, how about you ask for a Belly Aching Minute? You can belly ache all you want for one minute, I will listen, and then you need to stop when the minute is up." She said okay and we started the timer on my phone. For the first few seconds she just whined a bit so I suggested using some words. She then went on with her belly aching while watching the time count up. At 55 seconds she grew silent and looked at my phone. I told her she had 5 more seconds. She stopped the timer at 57 seconds.

I then sat her on my lap and started to talk. She started to complain some more and I reminded her that her time was up and now it was mine. I didn't try to fix one thing. Instead I repeated back what was bothering her even if some of the claims seemed silly. I told her I understood it must be hard going back to school after a fun three weeks off when you know everything and there is nothing more to learn. That it must be tough having a bunny that only scratches you, a bird that doesn't eat its greens, and a fish that is dumb (poor little fish). I gave her a hug and said if she ever needed to grumble again ask for the minute. I told her some days I may have to say not right now but I will give her the minute....always.

We hugged and I realized my girl was tired. That gives her no right to be disrespectful but I take my part seriously. I did literally pull her out of bed early that morning in attempts to get her back on her school sleep schedule. I knew she would be tired come bedtime and she was. She wanted her "sucky" time on the couch, which just means, cuddle with her "Mommy blanket" but also wanted to be by me. I had to get dinner ready so I pulled a chair over, put her on it with her blanket, and she cuddled by me while I made dinner.

In all reality, all I did was choose to respond versus react. I chose not to lash out but to listen. I thank God for the wisdom of the Belly Aching Minute and plan to implement in again in the future as needed. She just wanted to feel heard and I think we can all understand that. Sometimes we all just need our feelings validated even if they are not 100% true. They are still feelings. She will learn at school, the bunny doesn't just scratch her, the bird does refuse to eat his greens, and perhaps the fish isn't the smartest in the world but who knows --- he may be a genius betta and who am I to judge?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful last night didn't turn into a power struggle.
Daily Bible Verse: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." ~ Joshua 1:9


Make a difference with the Run & Walk for the Whales

Disclaimer: I work for Pacific Whale Foundation and am the Race Director for the Run & Walk for the Whales; however, I am writing this post on my own free will. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

In just over 3 weeks it is race day and the count down is completely different for me. This race I am not running. This race I am directing but the days leading up the race can be equally nerve wrecking as I go through my to do list and ensure everything is lined up and in place. But just like the days leading up to a race, it is exciting beyond belief!

Runners follow a training plan leading up to race day. There are good days, there are bad days, and there are in between days. Directing a race has the same ebb and flow of emotions as you tackle task after task but for me, I find it exciting. I truly think about the runner's experience and want them to have a great run with lots of new memories. On top of that, care about the cause...deeply.

Pacific Whale Foundation's mission is to protect the oceans through science and advocacy and those running for the whales are helping to support the research, conservation, and education programs and projects at Pacific Whale Foundation and trust me, the ladies and gentlemen at this non-profit work very hard, sometimes around the clock, to ensure the mission is being upheld and the marine environment and their inhabitants are being protected.

You can be part of this whether you are on Maui racing or by joining the Virtual Team. All race participants and Virtual Team members are entered into the door prize drawings and don't worry, there will be separate door prize drawings for the Virtual Team. I am so grateful for the companies and individuals who are supporting the Run & Walk for the Whales and Pacific Whale Foundation with their door prize donations: Allied Medals, Bart Yasso, Bolder Band, Dean Karnazes, FitApproach/SweatPink, Kindrunner, Lift Your Sole, Running Chics, Running on the Wall, ShowerPill, Sports Authority, and I am sure more are yet to come!

I invite you to join us in a wonderful event or at least follow along at #run4whales.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to give back to the running community.
Daily Bible Verse: Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.~ Phillipians 2:3


Tuesday Tunes

There is something magical about music. It can transport you back in time. Therefore, some of the songs I add to my playlist are happy feeling songs. Today's song is one of those.

The first time I heard this song was over two years when darling daughter and I were visiting family in Texas. My nieces were singing it and doing all these crazy hand movements and claps. They tried to teach darling daughter and she was trying hard to keep up. Fast forward about half a year and we were at a friend's house and once again, a girl was trying to teach darling the hand movments and words. Darling was getting better at it and never got discouraged that she was always a few beats behind. Granted, her cousins and friend are a year or more older than her.

Keep fast forwarding and I heard the song on the radio and darling daughter and I turned up the volume and rocked the car while I drove. It goes without saying it was one of the first songs I added to my playlist. Every time I hear it I think of her, my nieces, and our dear friend. How can that not make you feel happy? And happy feelings are sometimes much needed along a marathon course.

And the song....CUPS by Anna Kendrick.

Happy Tuesday!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for skies that are clearing.
Daily Bible Verse: Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! ~ Psalm 95:1


Motivational Monday: Unplugged

Today my Motivational Monday is a bit different. It is spurred by the storm we had Friday night. The wind was relentless with gusts up to 60 mph...perhaps more. The house was shaking, the rain was pounding the windows, the trees were shaking like crazy, and the power was out by 9:00 pm. Darling daughter awoke and after a little snack (special storm treat), I climbed into bed with her, a camping light, and read a couple more stories before lights out.

I didn't really sleep much that night as the bumps kept waking me...and dear hubby's phone. Before midnight, he had to go out into this craziness for work. I kept quiet. I knew any comment of safety etc. would not be well received. We are working on improving communication. I know he didn't want to go and my "be safe" comments would stir up strife. Instead I prayed for his safety. That was the best I could do. Pray. And with him gone I wondered if I was going to be able to get any sleep. I saw the flashing police lights and figured there was trouble down our street. Yes, there was. The road was closed due to fallen trees and power lines. Dear hubby had to go the other way which was littered with downed trees and yes, he helped move some so he could make his way into work. I learned this all later. And he learned later I prayed for his safety.

But I did sleep due to the power of prayer easing my worries about a tree falling on our roof. There are some big ones very close, plus a power pole. I asked for an envelope of protection for my family and drifted off to sleep. Once I awoke I was somewhat surprised we were still without power. I needed a coffee. Yes, I got some sleep but not enough. I needed a coffee and to run. And I was cold. So outside darling daughter and I went to run loops around the house to keep my streak alive. And then we braved the roads. It looked like cars were going up and down but within less than a minute I realized, it was deceiving me. The road was closed and no, I wasn't going the other way into back roads littered with trees. We returned home after our short minute or two adventure and coffee didn't mean as much to me as I had learned Toby's grandma had died in the night. We prayed for his family and then I remembered the grill. The grill I insisted we buy and keep propane in stock just in case. The grill only dear hubby has used.

For the first time ever I lighted our grill, heated up some water and cinnamon rolls, and was thankful for instant coffee a friend left us. Darling daughter and I enjoyed our unplugged day. I lighted the grill again to make quesadillas for lunch plus more coffee, we played outside, we read inside, we cuddled, we talked, and we waited for electricity. It was so quiet we heard new noises. The sounds of work trucks beeping in the distance. We watched them go by and cheered when we saw an electric company vehicle. When we saw poles go by we danced. Everything takes time and from what I was told from the electric company, 22,000 people were without power.

My phone was dying and I didn't know how much longer we would be without power. The electric company told me to make emergency preparations. Yes, I called to touch base as I wanted to have the best update for dear hubby. And I wanted my phone to have life in case of an emergency so I kept everything brief. Then it dawned on me. I could use the charge from my laptop and power up my phone. Thing is, we had to stay on the laptop to keep it awake so it could charge my phone. We looked at old videos of darling daughter and laughed at the memories. It took practically the whole laptop charge to recharge my phone but I was good to go. And when plugged in I talked with my mom some, which I know she liked as much as I did.

Once things started getting dimmer we lit candles, pulled out memory books, and went through darling daughter's life from birth to turning 6. We put a call into dear hubby to bring home ice and dinner. It was raining again. He said okay but didn't get to leave work until after 6:00 pm. Shortly thereafter the power came back on. Darling daughter and I danced and praised God for the blessing of light...even though we still had no cable or internet. That problem still persists and poor dear hubby missed all the football games yesterday.

But ironically, the past two days have been the best ever. We pulled together as a family and had more fun that we have had in a long time. We appreciated the small things even more and yes, instant coffee never tasted so good! We bonded, laughed, and had fun. I told darling daughter it was kinda like pioneer days but then we went on to list a million reasons why we still had it better off than the pioneers.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful it was a sunny day for the most part when the power was out.
Daily Bible Verse: In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 4:8


Friday Favorite: Pylian Estates Olive Oil

This is a sponsored post. I received product to review free of charge as a FitFluential Ambassador. I did not promise a positive review. The opinions expressed below are entirely my own. 

In my early years I thought oil was oil when baking and cooking but over the years I have learned, not oils are the same. I learned the benefits of olive oil and that its rich content of monosaturated fatty acids was good for my heart. I also discovered it just tasted better especially on salads. Yes, I have always been an oil and vinegar type of gal for salads. Recently, my oil and vinegar passion has been rekindled with the introduction of Pylian Estates Olive Oil in my life.

As a FitFluential Ambassador I had the opportunity to give this product a try. I was immediately intrigued because I was beginning to wonder that if all oils aren't created the same, are all olive oils created the same? Does its origin, price, etc. reflect any real differences?

First, I was completely impressed by how safely this bottle of olive oil was packed and delivered to my door (and pretty excited to see the FitFluential special label too!). Once I opened it I was even more impressed by the cork top. It was quite classy looking but I later learned that the cork had a special purpose. That cork keeps air out in between uses to prevent oxidization and rancidity. And since it was to be kept in a cool, dark place I found the best place I could in my kitchen and I am certain the dark glass bottle helps with that too.

But what about flavor? It is delicious! I am have been serving it as a side dip for toasty pieces of wheat french bread. My prep is super easy: oil, balsamic vinegar, and Italian seasonings (although last night dear hubby and darling daughter said they would be happier with no seasonings added). I will be prepping things their way tonight!

Pylian Estates is a small family owned business that is determined to control the harvest process all the way from their trees in Greece until the oil is cold pressed and bottled. Each bottle is clearly labeled with its harvest date, the tree location, and the acidity level. For example, my bottle was harvested and pressed on November 28, 2013 (yes, their goal is to harvest the olives and press them within 24 hours!). And my bottle contains single variety Koroneiki Olives from Pylias, Greece.

The oil is delightful with a delicate flavor and I attribute this to the fact that the olives are processed without heat or chemicals and since the oil is not filtered, it retains all the natural polyphenols and antioxidants. This makes me feel good when I put this on my family's plate. A 500 ml bottle is $24.95 and a 750 ml bottle is $34.95 and you can purchase some yourself online. As a mom with a tight budget I would still be willing to purchase this oil for those special occasions when you really want something nice. It is definitely my go to now for salads and bread dippers!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for this opportunity to try Pylian Estates Olive Oil.
Daily Bible Verse: Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your dress was of fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth You ate fine flour, honey and oil; so you were exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. - Ezekiel 16:13


Happy 2015!

It is officially here - 2015! In fact, it has been hear for over 14 hours and yep, I missed that transition again. As much as I thought the whole family would stay up until midnight and see the ball drop (on TV of course), I was zonked out somewhere around 10:00 pm. Oh well....

Regardless, the year has started off perfectly! Well...except for dear hubby having to work but darling daughter and I headed to church for mass. She was less than eager but ended up genuinely enjoying herself. I think she liked the smaller service and her behavior brought happy tears to my eyes.

Then once home I started my run for the day...running streak day 1,099, first run of 2015, I was beyond stoked to run! Better yet, I knew I was running to a play date about to commence for darling with a friend from the mainland. Her mommy dropped her off and went off for a run herself while I watched the kiddo's. It felt good to give the gift of a run outside to another running mom and tomorrow I am giving the gift of watching another little one while her mommy works. Yep, two play dates -- two dates in a row! Darling daughter is stoked and tomorrow she will be playing with her best school buddy.

I hope to get my run in before the play date commences and envision making homemade cinnamon rolls to the happy sounds of happy girls. It will be grand! Well, it will be if dear hubby brings home the much needed flour.

The year is off to a great start but I feel odd not really having any fitness resolutions. I thought about running 2,015 miles in 2015 but wonder if I need that pressure. With or without this resolution I will run the best I can each and every day. Do I want to feel further driven to run more? Will it motivate me more? Is it worth it? I think not.

I think resolutions should be more meaningful. The goal for a happier home, more love, more forgiveness, more courage seem more valuable to me. Yes, they are hard to measure but in all reality, I just want to be a better me in 2015. I want to continue to accept the next baton in my life's journey and to give back to others, to build them up, to be a positive force, to be happy.

What do you want in 2015?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I got laundry done while darling daughter was playing beautifully with a friend.
Daily Bible Verse: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Proverbs 3:27.