What I learned in 100 days of yoga - take 2

100 days ago I started a new yoga streak and I have been counting down the final 90's to bring me to today's post - what I learned in 100 days of yoga take 2 to see if my top ten lessons this go around differ from my top ten lessons during my first yoga streak.

Yes, I ended my first yoga streak on October 2, 2014. You can read all about that decision HERE but like life, things change, opinions change, and it was time for me to start a new yoga streak...all the while keeping my running streak running strong with day 1401 today. Yippee!!!

So what I have I learned in these past 100 days?
  1. It is okay to break up my yoga sessions into mini sessions. 
  2. Yoga breaks at work increase my productivity, awaken my mind, and release tension.
  3. Yoga is a great tool for tightness that develops over time.
  4. You may be a loose as a noodle one day and tighter than one could ever imagine the next day. I haven't figured out why this is but don't let it get you down.
  5. There are yoga fixes for everything! When experiencing intense menstrual cramps I looked up some poses and found almost instantaneous relief.
  6. You won't make progress if you are too afraid to try.
  7. It is okay if you can't touch your toes. We are all different. Love the body you are in.
  8. Yoga mellows my moods and alleviates my stress.
  9. It is good for your own confidence, and body, to ensure you have at least one dedicated yoga class a week. Yes, I said mini sessions are fine but make time for longer classes whenever you can.
  10. I enjoy teaching darling daughter a few yoga poses to help her in her horseback riding endeavors.
So does my list match last times? Nope! But I think that is great because it shows that those first lessons were already a part of me giving me a chance to learn more.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful my cousin's baby is off the vent, EEG, all meds, and is on the road to getting stronger and stronger! Praise God!

Daily Bible Verse: Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. ~ Jeremiah 17:14


The 17 mile treadmill run

I did not want to run.

Okay, that isn't entirely true. I wanted to run but not in that corner. Not in one place. Not on that treadmill. No way, no how. Forget about it.

But the thing is, I couldn't forget about it. I am a runner. I am training for the Honolulu Marathon. I needed to run long but not for the reasons you might think. Sure, you can say I needed to for the training plan and all that but that isn't why I needed to. Yes, it is important but I needed to run long to help me overcome this treadmill dread that is weighing me down. I needed to run and just get it done.

My plan called for 16 miles. I told myself I had to do it and just got my butt in gear. I decided to blast some music and darling daughter agreed. I think she likes the blast the music times of our life and it only happens on dreaded treadmill runs. Once the music was set to go, I hit start and just started running.

At 3.85 miles I decided we should play the washcloth game and darling daughter eagerly retrieved four washcloths and set one aside nicely laid out after 4 miles. The game was on! Every four miles, she moved a washcloth. Every two miles, I hit an aid station and got some awesome SOS Rehydrate. Every mile, I changed my pace as I ran my long run in two pyramids.

Pyramid 1: 10 miles. Increase speed up from the starting pace of 6.0 and ended with a pace of 6.1.

Quick pit stop to take care of business, give the treadmill motor a breather, and refill my SOS Rehydrate bottle. I also grabbed three graham crackers and got back running ASAP.

Pyramid 2: 7 miles. Increase speed up from the starting pace of 6.0 and ended with a pace of 6.0 for the bonus 17th mile.

The run was a bit tough mentally to start with but eased up. Between the washcloth game, aid stations, changing the pace, dancing, and my pit stop there was plenty to distract me PLUS at about mile 12 work texted that the humpback whales were back on Maui!!! Yippee!!! So I ran along happily gathering the information and doing the official social media post for work. Talk about working on the run!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the 17 miles I put in.

Daily Bible Verse: For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. ~ Hebrews 4:1


Running on Empty

Oh how I wish this was me today
Do you ever feel you are running on empty? I do at times and it is usually a sign that I am letting life get to the better of me.

Ironically, since I started my running streak on December 30, 2011 I am much healthier. I get less colds and when I do get sick I recover more quickly. That was until I went through a long string of colds that seemed to take over my body and I spiraled gloomily into despair. However, there was an answer. Vitamin D. Thank God during a routine physical my doc checked my Vitamin D levels, as long as other things, and discovered my levels dropped significantly. Since the only difference in my life was not consuming dairy, I attribute that my dietary changes may have been a factor...especially since I am running outside now more than ever and no, I am not the best sunscreen applier. I could improve in that game too.

Since I have been taking my daily D I am for the most part running with a full tank, and yes, my SOS Rehydrate helps keep me hydrated and ready for the next run and for life in general. But these past two weeks I have been feeling sluggish. And that is me letting life get to me. I am very good at accessing what I am doing wrong and have no problem pointing the finger right back at myself.

First, treadmill blahs. With so much running outside I am letting the treadmill blahs get the best of me -- especially on long run days. I am letting the "This is not going to be fun." take over and not doing a good job of thinking "Thank you God for this treadmill and letting me run long at home. Thank you God for giving me a way to get it done on Saturday so I can honor and glorify you on Sunday." I need to overcome the boredom and blahs!

Second, stress. Oh the stress! But in all reality, worrying about tomorrow isn't going to help today now is it? And don't fret about yesterday either. The past is, well, the past. Get over it. And yes, things happen in life that are stressful and that is ALWAYS going to be the case so suck it up buttercup, lace up those shoes, put on your happy face, and go out there and be happy! Managing stress is not new to me or my blog.

Third, chronic conditions. You may or may not have any chronic conditions but if you do, my heart goes out to you as I suffer from herpes outbreaks. It sounds simple enough but in the past couple years it has tormented me more -- enough to start a regular preventative program. The thing is, it is my stress indicator and yes, with increased stress came another outbreak. When this happens I just want to give myself a good talking to and tell myself that I need to really learn to chill as carrying too much stress within my heart and soul only leads to further misery. And it goes beyond the annoying outbreak but I feel it in muscle aches, increased fatigue, headache, and irritability. This go around I failed to recognize the red flags as I blamed hormones and that leads me to hormones.

Fourth, hormones. Hormones and your menstrual cycle can be an emotional and physical roller coaster -- one that can leave me wanting to just climb into bed or cuddle on the sofa with darling daughter, a good book, or a good show such as a chick flick or a cooking show. And yes, in the past two weeks we have been streaming a lot of The Next Food Network Star, Chopped, and Cupcake Wars.

Fifth, biting off more than you can chew. It is easy to try to be super mom, super employee, and super wife and take on the world but in all reality, I am just me. And sometimes I need help. Okay, every single day I need God's help and I frequently turn to Him for support and guidance. Good thing He is okay with non-stop praying and knocking on the door as I am always there but I am sure to toss in TONS of gratitude to balance out the "I need YOU's!". Thank you for the green light, thank you for easy crossing of the road on a scary intersection, thank you for the rain not being too bad, thank you for darling daughter having a great lesson, thank you for this food for dinner, thank you for forgiving me. So this week with non-stop demands on my time I had to draw the line. No, I can't go to that horse association meeting tonight as much as I would love to because I am making cookies for a bake sale for a pony club. It is a school night and I just can't commit to being up late and we have a school function tomorrow night.

With all this said and done, I am not sure how I am going to do with Saturday's long run with a pressing to do list after my run. Things that are shortened to make life easier. The bare necessities but still a bit longer than I would love. I would love to do errands tomorrow to free up Saturday but like I said, school function, so I will need to have faith and pray to God that I have the mental strength to find my strong, renew my optimistic nature, and run long Saturday....just as scheduled.

Who wants to give me a good kick in the butt to keep me focused?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for this quiet time as the cookie dough chills and that darling daughter is okay with an easy dinner, nachos, tonight.

Daily Bible Verse: Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? ~ Luke 18:1-8


Life's Challenges

I will never cease to be amazed by how life can place things in my path right when I need them most.

Yesterday I received my October bling from Running on the Wall. In case you missed it, I am a Running on the Wall athlete, which means I get the opportunity to run a virtual run each month. This month the virtual run was the "If it doesn't challenge you it doesn't change you 10K" and right now, running has been a huge challenge.

To make a long story short, just over a week ago I got the news that I (along with other co-workers) am being furloughed one day a week. This was crushing news as our family budget is already stretched tight with no wiggle room. Dear hubby doesn't even get to watch football! We have no cable. Poor guy but I am arranging some get together's that allow him to perhaps seem a bit of a game here and there. Gotta love good friends! As much as I have my faith in God and that He will take care of us, as He always does, I still have been under this crushing weight of worry. So getting this bling was a good motivator to keep running on the treadmill today and try to find my strong.

Let me tell you....that 10K was hard! I ran along feeling heavy with rubbery weak legs and I knew it wasn't physical. It was all mental. As I ran on I did what I often do. I reflect on life, I talk to God, and I try to find my happiness and strong. At one point today as I was struggling with my easy pace wondering how on Earth I was going to run a marathon come December and why I was failing on letting go of my worry and stress. Why couldn't I just let go of this burden that I was entrusting to God? I have faith so why am I clinging to this heaviness and letting it weigh me down.

Then it hit me. My mind went to Jesus carrying the cross. He fell down. He struggled and I gotta say, his cross must have weighed a TON. My burden pales in comparison to the cross he carried for ALL of our sins. All I could do was run on and think, if he carried such a burden why am I complaining? I will carry my burden alongside him. I thought of Jesus praying that he didn't really want to go through the passion and asked if there was any other way but quickly accepting and stating that it would be God's will that would be done and he agreed to follow that will. Talk about a huge light bulb going off. Trusting God doesn't mean I will be without suffering, worries, stress, or burdens. It means keeping the faith when I am burdened. Keeping the faith when I feel I am being crushed.

Handing my burdens over to God didn't mean I would feel happy go lucky and run strong with no effort in life. It meant carrying those burdens knowing I will be okay. And guess what? As I imagined Jesus attaching his yoke to me the weight on my shoulders did lessen. He is beside me helping me along my path in life. Yes, this is a bumpy road but like the virtual run I was running...without challenges in life I won't change and grow. And yes, I completed the 10K and ran an additional 4 miles afterwards. I also went on to do 15 minutes of yoga but then it was time to clean-up and take darling daughter to her horse lessons. All in all, a successful run even though I wanted/hoped for at least 14 miles. I will run more tomorrow. Her make-up lessons from missing Thursday took priority.

I am being challenged physically through my training for the Honolulu Marathon and emotionally and spiritually through my family's current financial hurdle but I am growing. I opened my craft store and got to making crocheted items I always talked about trying to sell. And yes, there are ads on my blog now. It was something that I have been pondering to do for months and I finally bit the bullet and did it. There are other dreams I have for my family's future and I am taking action and trying to make my dreams come true. And in all of this, I am trying to remain positive for my family and to not break down in tears too often. I want to keep Jesus close to my heart, I want to remain attached firmly to his yoke in faith, and I want to go down this road because yes, it is changing me and I believe it is changing my life for the better.

On a happy note, check out this race's bling a bit more!

An awesome lightweight tank top, a cap that is lightweight and the front part is made from material that you can find in a wetsuit (very cool), a nice big magnet that is on my fridge now, and a medal PLUS you can get a second medal...perfect for my buddy! All of this and a race bib. Ready, set, go! Are you ready to run?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the heavy rain coming AFTER darling daughter's horse lesson today.

Daily Bible Verse: For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:30


Product Review: Custom Running Journal by Journal Menu

This is a sponsored post in that I received a custom journal free to review from Journal Menu. I did not promise a good review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

Journaling your life away. Is it worth it? Absolutely! And I have gone through many journals in my years of running. Some fall to the wayside before I ever get to the end of the book and some were used from front to back only hoping for more pages. You see, I need a journal with good writing space that fits my needs but perhaps has a bit flexibility as my needs in life change from season to season. Gone are the days of tracking food and what I eat. That serves me no huge purpose right now. But every day I track mileage but I have a little log book for that and an online log. Do I need another journal in my life?

Some would say no but I say yes. I tried the Move. Nourish. Believe. journal but it just didn't fit me. The added pages well...they really didn't add value to my life, which is a shame as the journal was beautiful. It just wasn't a good fit for me. I was always trying to squeeze my thoughts into the tinier weekend boxes; therefore, cutting my precious notes short. Ummm....that defeated the purpose of me journaling and in all reality, I have MORE thoughts on the weekend and LONGER runs...hence the more thoughts. I needed weekend space.

Enter my custom journal. You can pick what insert pages you want so if running isn't your thing, there is an insert set perfect for you. Trust me. Check them out

You can also pick your cover and add any special sayings, quotes, etc on it --- you know, whatever makes you smile. Do you like what I picked? I LOVE it!

Now let's get inside it and take a look. 

There are a couple of pages to track your goals with a start date, deadline, and place to mark when you achieve it.

There is a page talking about SMART goals and if you have followed me long enough you know I love SMART goals. Plus there is space for you to write your own SMART goals. How cool is that?!

For those interested in body measurements, you have plenty of space to chart that and in all reality, I would prefer body measurement tracking over logging your weight. That number on the scale lies and isn't a true story but if you love tracking your pounds (or kilograms), there is space for that too.

There are pages to learn about mobility and a quick guide to mobilization PLUS training plans for a 5k, half marathon, and a marathon.

But check this out! Pages for race reviews!!!! Woo-hoo!!!!

And the pages for daily running and notes have blocks of equal size for every day of the week. I love the amount of note space as it will allow me to add the comments that I want to add each day. 

To wrap things up beautifully, at the end of the journal you have a pace chart with pace, 5k time, 10k time, half marathon time, and marathon time. This journal truly rocks the boat!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for this journal and look forward to using it to log my thoughts on the run.

Daily Bible Verse: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6 


Family Game Night

One good thing about Fall Break is that it left plenty of time for fun and games (and major food prep -- our freezer is well-stocked with many meals to come and the timing couldn't be better but let's save that for another post).

To be completely honest, dear hubby doesn't get into board games as much as darling daughter and I but she did do a good job of coaxing him into a game of Monopoly. However, he was less than stoked when he completely bankrupt me and I couldn't pay him when I landed on his property that had a hotel on it two times in a row. He wanted his money! Sorry dear, life happens and good thing this is just a game. Next, he sent poor darling daughter into bankruptcy but she took it with grace and helped clean up the game with a smile.

Besides Monopoly we have some other family favorites in our house and I am going to tell you what I like about all of them....starting with Monopoly. Perhaps today's post will give you some gift giving ideas! Please note: this post does contain affiliate links. Thank you for your understanding.

Monopoly: It teaches using money wisely, budgeting, and math skills. Yep, I am introducing multiplication without darling daughter realizing it.

Scrabble: It teaches spelling and expands one's vocabulary when new words are introduced. When darling daughter was younger I would help her with her turn even if it meant I was playing for both of us. She likes the game!

Rummikub: There is a kid's version with animals but I prefer this one as it teaches a bit about number sequencing and forming sets of different colors PLUS some strategy as you can break other sets and use them yourself.

Clue: Personally, I love this game and the detective work you go through trying to figure out whodunnit, where, and with what and darling daughter is getting very good at it! And we have a dual version that has the classic clue and a boardwalk version too.

Mexican Train: Have you played this domino game? My mom got us hooked on it years ago and darling daughter LOVES it but personally, I like it more with more players than just the two of us. Just this past summer we played with Grandma and two of her best buddies...all five of us had a blast (and perhaps ate a few too many snacks but hey, it was summer vacation!). And yes, it teaches strategy and knowing what to play when and where. And do you want to know a secret? Last summer darling daughter's last play on her own train was a domino she could have played earlier on my mom's train but she didn't! She knew she needed it later on her train. That is when my mom knew she could invite her friends over to play with us since darling daughter could hold her own against four grown-up's.

Mermaid Island: Darling daughter fell in love with this box years ago at an aquarium store and eventually I broke down and got it for her as a Christmas gift. Why? Because it was a cooperative game and we got this in those early years when she would get upset if she didn't win. In this game, all the players work together to get the mermaids safely to the island before the witch. We still play it when she wants some game time and we don't have much time to play.

The Secret Door: Another cooperative game by the same maker as Mermaid Island and personally, I really enjoy this game and its twist on memory. It is a memory detective game where you try to get as many matches before time runs out (you find a clock and it moves up to the top of the board). Once time is out you need to guess what three items were stolen and hidden behind the secret door. We don't always figure it out but we always have a blast.

What games do you or your family enjoy to play? 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for board games and finding the time to play.

Daily Bible Verse: The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. ~ Psalm 145:18


She believed she could so she did

I am excited to be a Running on the Wall race ambassador and at the beginning of this month I participated in their She believed she could so she did virtual 10K. I do love running virtual races because sometimes they help me push myself just a wee bit more and this race was one of those. I ended up running a total of 13.1 miles that day...on the treadmill...and split my race up. Yes, I stopped after the first 6.2 miles to get my time for the virtual race and carried on. I also pushed myself during that first 6.2 miles...more so than I typically do on a long run and am happy to announce, my second 6.9 miles were even faster!

How cool is that?!

What is even cooler is the nice race bling they send you. The bib was sent to my buddy with my race date, official time, and pace. I hope he likes it as much as I do. I kept the medal and rub on letters, which were added to a frame and is hanging by my medal in a portrait I put together. And the tank top, it is light weight and perfect for me! It is one I will be proud and comfortable wearing to remind myself, and others, that we can achieve more when we do believe in ourselves.

I can't wait to see what my next Running on the Wall race will be!

Do you like virtual runs? Why or why not?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for Fall Break and the precious time I have off with darling daughter.

Bible Verse: The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down. ~ Psalm 145:14


43 things about me

  1. It's my birthday today.
  2. I am now 43 - eek!
  3. I was born in Michigan.
  4. I am adopted. 
  5. I have an older and younger sister.
  6. My older sister is adopted.
  7. No, we are not blood related.
  8. My younger sister is not adopted.
  9. I wanted a brother and I wanted to name him Nicholas.
  10. Obviously I got a sister. Her name is Nicole.
  11. My dad named me.
  12. My Grandma wasn't certain she liked the name Erica due to the Erica in that silly soap opera.
  13. I love my name.
  14. My dad died of leukemia on March 31, 2010. 
  15. His battle was way too short as we all wished we had more time with him.
  16. Sometimes my heart still breaks that darling daughter missed out on LOTS of time with him.
  17. Sometimes I really don't like living in the middle of the Pacific.
  18. I cried yesterday morning because I was in the middle of the Pacific and just wanted my mom.
  19. I love visiting her in Texas and LOVE the community she lives in.
  20. I could run there every day.
  21. I do run every day.
  22. My running streak started on December 30, 2011.
  23. I was inspired to start my running streak by another running mom and yes, she is still running every day. 
  24. My daughter is 7. 
  25. I had an emergency c-section.
  26. It really hurts when your placenta rips away from your uterus. I screamed.
  27. I was literally shoved back on the table after I heard the doctor saying they didn't have time to give me an injection.
  28. I didn't like to hear the urgency in her voice.
  29. I suffered from postpartum depression that went undiagnosed.  
  30. I have learned to speak up and take a more active role in my health care.
  31. I was diagnosed as clinically depressed shortly before my dad died.
  32. I have learned that running is what I need to do especially when I don't want to -- which rarely happens -- but if I start getting that mindset, I know I need to run to keep depression at bay.
  33. I am in contact with my birth mom.
  34. That makes me very happy.
  35. I married dear hubby on September 9, 2009 and we got our marriage validated on July 11, 2015. 
  36. I was raised Catholic, wandered away from my faith, made some HUGE mistakes, and felt God calling me back. 
  37. I am proud to say I love Jesus and can't make it through one single day without Him in my heart and by my side leading the way.
  38. I still suffer from many insecurities.
  39. I believe my past self esteem issues causes problems in relationships.
  40. I want a better relationship with dear hubby.
  41. I pray every single day. 
  42. I want the world to be a better place.
  43. I dream of moving back to the mainland. 
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my friends and family.

Daily Bible Verse: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118:24


Do not ask: Are you pregnant?

Today's post is an anonymous letter from a husband whose wife has been asked this question a few too many times. No, the post is not from dear hubby but I must say, having always had a little pooch, I feel this woman's pain as I too have been asked this very sensitive question and personal question.

To the Person Who Asked My Wife If She Was Pregnant,
The upshot of your inquiry, was to tell my wife she had the body of a pregnant woman - which is the same as being called fat, if you’re not pregnant. She’s not. She has, however given birth to our two sons, and you’re obviously familiar with the concept of pregnancy’s effect on the female body. My wife exercises regularly, and is an avid runner. She keeps the whole family’s diet on the healthy side, with whole grains, fish, vegetables, kefir, Greek yogurt and supplements for vitamins, probiotics,and DHAs in the mix too. She does enjoy red wine, and has a sweet tooth - we both do, in fact. She is healthy, beautiful and sexy.
So when someone seemingly innocently asks about a non-existent pregnancy, she questions her entire lifestyle and why she puts effort into maintaining her body. Her self-esteem is damaged - she doesn’t feel like the healthy, beautiful, sexy woman she is. Her day is ruined, and as her husband and someone who loves her dearly, my day gets ruined too. I wasn’t present when you decided to ask a personal, invasive question of a stranger, but if I had been this is what I would have liked to tell you, and all of your ilk.
I figure you’re one of two kinds of people. The first type, is simply ignorant of the kind of damage you’re doing by asking such a question. If the little pouch you observed would have been due to a pregnancy, it would probably be in the first trimester, when most expecting moms don’t widely release the news to due a fear of miscarriage which occur in those first 12 weeks; Personally, I never ask a woman about a pregnancy unless she looks like she’s smuggling a regulation size basketball, or if she brings it up herself. I would be mortified if I made the mistake you made - but you don’t care about that, you simply need your nosiness satisfied, and you’re too socially stupid to consider the consequences of your assumption being wrong. I suppose there are plenty of socially impaired people out there, maybe it explains why this happens almost regularly - if it were a one time occurrence, we might be able to ignore it.
Since it does seem to happen every so often, my cynical side begins to wonder if there’s a second type of person who asks a woman about a pregnancy which isn’t actually there. I think you do it on purpose; it is a malicious, passive-aggressive, catty attack on someone who has done nothing to provoke you. Why would someone do such a thing? I’m not sure, but my best theory is that you wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and see someone trapped in a cage of self-hatred, and you think the only means of escape is to knock someone down a peg. You’ve actually found a way to fat-shame someone who isn’t even fat (which I’ll admit is a term as ugly as it is subjective), and yet you won’t get called out on it, because the insult is cloaked in warm, fuzzy, family-friendliness. I’d applaud the brilliance of the tactic, if only it wasn’t so plain and outright mean.
If you’re in the former, socially stupid camp, let this be a lesson to you. Women who ARE pregnant get asked all kinds of questions about their body day in, day out. They are treated to labour horror stories, and questioned about every little detail on their lifestyle - what they eat, whether or not they’re exercising, what kind of birth they’re planning. They might enjoy some adult conversation that doesn’t revolve around that stuff - they might feel nostalgic for the “normal” life, and if not, they’ll probably discuss pregnancy details with you unprompted. Show some manners, and mind your own business.
If you’re in the latter, malicious camp, you have a learning opportunity too. While you can do some superficial damage to her (and therefore us), you can’t make us fundamentally unhappy - we have too much to be grateful for. By the same token, your cage of self-hatred is one you constructed yourself, and you’ll free yourself of it not by attacking others, but by appreciating the beauty and light within your own life. Try to build yourself up, and if you can spare the effort, maybe even build up someone else, and do it sincerely. If you still don’t get it, try this: if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to share this post.

Daily Bible Verse: Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. ~ Colossians 4:6


Let's talk Down syndrome

October is Down syndrome awareness month and I have a month long campaign up my sleeves that will be launched primarily on my instagram and facebook page --- with some autotweet to twitter. But I don't want to keep you in the dark and what good would raising awareness be if I kept silent here?

To launch the month of awareness I want to talk about a recent virtual run I did for Toby. It was for Down Syndrome Diagnostic Network. The race fees covered the two medals (one for me and one for Toby) and then went to DSDN to help them in what they do. Are you curious about what they do? Good! I am going to tell you.

DSDN is based on an awesome concept and executed beautifully. It is a group of parents with kids who have Down syndrome because who can understand the situation better than them? No one. I am an avid believer that you really need to be in some one's shoes to understand their path. It is easy to give advice on the outside but who best can give advice and understanding to parents who have just learned their child has Down syndrome? Who best can answer those questions, feelings of fear of the unknown, and just plain wanting the best for their children? People who have been there and truly understand. This brings back a quote from a movie I saw years ago. The movie was Core and I am not going to go look up the quote verbatim but in a nutshell, a man was telling a lady she can't be a leader because she has never failed. That you need to fall down and get back up in order to lead people. Basically, you need to be able to place yourself in their shoes and guide them. DSDN does just that!

This site is amazing and the wealth of information, parent stories, links to more sources of information, tips for professionals for delivering the news, and yes, ways to donate and join the cause. What a God send! I am honored to have supported their efforts with my virtual run race fees. But this post isn't just about DSDN and my virtual race. This post is about Down syndrome awareness.

You can tell I am amped that parents are leading the way at DSDN and today I have a special treat for you. My buddy's mom shared some of her own personal thoughts and tips for others. Essentially, I asked her what she would like the world to know about Down syndrome and this is what she said:

"I would like parents/public to know that a kid with Down syndrome is more alike other kids than different. They are not ALWAYS happy. They have moods like everyone else, they just get over things faster. They want to be friends and play with your kids and can learn much from them. Please let your kids ask questions about my son. That's how they learn and how they dispel fears. Lastly, kids with Down syndrome can learn just about anything typical kids can, just at a slower pace."

Did anyone else get chills? I have read this so many times before typing it today and it still gives me chills. God knows my child is not always happy and the first time I read this was when darling daughter was having a really hard time getting over a bump in the road. Oh how I wished that bump would go by a wee bit quicker!

I am honored and blessed to have Toby in my life. I only wish we didn't have the Pacific Ocean separating us so darling could play with him and get to know him in person. Yes, she is learning a lot about Down syndrome and acceptance through our long distance relationship. I share his up's and down's with her and she shares her stories with him (via me of course). Right now, it is the best I can do but I know it is making a difference in both of our lives. I am a better person for knowing Toby. I am a better person.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful God placed Toby in my life.

Daily Bible Verse: Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace. ~ 1 Peter 4:8-10