I Won't Be Home - When you can't be home for the holidays

They say the grass is always greener on the other side and at holidays, this may be the case. I know many are torn between which family members to visit or have to deal with family members who don't want to get together. Some are faced with long drives in treacherous weather or crazy airports. Some may not be looking forward to the bickering of family or have unresolved issues that always come up. Perhaps you are just on two different sides of the fence when it comes to political or religious views and feel you will never just get along. 

Call me crazy, but I want some of that right about now! I want to be home for Thanksgiving!

Yes, I will be at home. My home. With darling daughter, dear hubby, and if we are lucky, his younger son and perhaps the girlfriend will be with us too. That would makes things extra fun and I don't want what I say to diminish that one single bit but I want to be HOME with my mom, my sisters, my nieces and nephews, the craziness, the potential bickering, and the fun. 

This year, as in many other years, the Pacific Ocean feels bigger and my heart aches. I want to be home. To be more accurate, I want to go back in time and be home when my Dad was still alive. I loved our Thanksgivings and the table surrounded by family and friends. Who was there varied year to year. Sometimes extended family came. Sometimes a neighborhood family joined us. It was always fun. And I loved the turkey, baked sweet potatoes (no marshmallows on top please....yuck!), and olives. Oh how I LOVED, and still love, olives.

It was also "THE DAY!". The day we pulled out the Christmas tree and put it together limb by limb with my Dad. The painted colors on the tips and holes faded over time but he was always able to help us out if we got stuck and had it memorized what order the colors went in from bottom to top. I remember the years my younger sister was small enough, and crazy enough, to want to play in the boxes as we put the tree together and my Mom always had a vision for us whether it be multi-colored or a single-color theme. We snacked, we decorated, and we untangled lights for indoors and out.

Going through strands was a pleasant chore and I am sure many of you remember lights being partially out and searching for the culprit bulb to replace to make everything all good again. That was a reason to celebrate and if you fixed a strand, you were a hero! At least for a moment. 

Me and my sisters.....
Yes, we bickered. I came from a family of five with three girls. We bickered. Sometimes Mom or Dad had to step in to put an end to it all but in many cases, we moved on. It was a lesson in resiliency. A little argument didn't mean we didn't love eachother. Different viewpoints were okay. We moved on. No harm done. I don't ever remember any crazy drama with anyone storming off in fits or running out of the house in despair. We may have sulked in the corner but eventually the sulker's heart would melt and the fun would draw them back into the family like a warm embrace. As a mom now, I look back and think, wow, we truly learned some life coping skills during the holidays.

Fast forward to today and things are different. Very seldom is our house full as the extended family is on the mainland or in dear hubby's case, another country. We have spent holidays with friends who are like family and it is nice but I still crave establishing an "our tradition" that will leave darling daughter warm and fuzzy years to come. Will decorating the tree, planning the menu, and setting up the "feast" with me be enough? Dear hubby has been absent from decorating as it isn't his cup of tea and why force it? Okay, I would LOVE for him to be part of it but am happy to decorate in November versus a couple of week's before Christmas like his family did. Decorating is hard work, fun, but hard work so with all that effort, I want to enjoy it! Plus, seeing the Christmas lights on the tree twinkle calms me and makes me happy.

But I still miss my family and can get teary eyed in a moment's notice and love how it can make darling daughter chuckle. As we finished printing out our menu, a new fun addition this year, I announced we will use the good plates. She eagerly asked, "You mean the fine china?!" Yep, we are pulling out the dishes that came from my younger sister. She agreed this was a great idea because why have them way up high on the shelf if you are never going to use them. Smart girl and I am glad she is learning a bit from me. Then I added we could use the turkey salt and pepper shakers that were Grandma's and could barely get the words out before tearing up and crying. She had to confirm what I said, looked at me like I was a bit crazy, and smiled at me. I told her I was just happy because now they WILL be with us at Thanksgiving....through their plates and shakers. Now if only I could find something to represent my older sister.....

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that we are able to prepare a wonderful Thanksgiving meal through the blessings from God.

Daily Bible Verse: And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17


RUN SAFE: Road Running Safety Tips

This post was inspired by a close call I had just the other week. I was running down a stretch of road that is pretty wide and not heavily trafficked by cars; however, they are there and you do need to be aware of them. Even though the road is wide, there are no real shoulders in many areas and the sides can be a combination of rubble and dirt, high grass, or brush too thick to get into to.

I was running along happily facing traffic (TIP NUMBER 1: Run so you can see the cars coming to you.) and saw a car coming down the road faster than he really should have been and then as he got closer, he started veering in my direction. I immediately dodged to the side, got scraped along the knee from the brush and sharp weeds, but was able to run along essentially "unharmed". Thank God for that!

Some may call me paranoid but I do think of many what if car scenarios while on the run. (TIP NUMBER 2: Always have an escape plan.) When I run I do think of how I could avoid disaster if needed. I am not saying that every step of my run I am calculating off course emergency exits but I do know the sketchy parts and have thought of them. (TIP NUMBER 3: Know where you are running and any potential dangers.) Since I run along the same 4-5 routes the vast majority of the time, I know the issues and have formulated escape plans....for lack of a better term. I know where there are good shoulders, where I can dodge off the road, and where escape is essentially impossible due to a flying leap over a guardrail only to plummet down in a valley. But even in those areas of higher risk, I have a plan. (TIP NUMBER 4: Alter your pace.) Sometimes you just may need to stop to let traffic go by and then run along the narrow stretch or if you see an all clear, run faster especially if there is a blind curve and you can't be 100% sure what is around the bend. (TIP NUMBER 5: Don't be blasting music in your ears.) Thank God we have ears and for a vast majority of us, we can hear. Use them! You can hear cars coming before you see them and I get to practice this every single day when I go to and from our mailbox at home. It is across the street with a turns on the road on either side. One is more subtle but one is sharp, too close for comfort, and I must peer through leaves looking for any signs of motion and listen, listen, listen and then get across the street as fast as possible!

I truly think this is a subject worth a lengthy discussion but I will stop with today's 5 tips and stay tuned for future tips.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for hand therapy --- even if it hurts like crazy!

Daily Bible Verse: Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. ~ Psalm 100:4-5


The Benefits of Yoga Breaks

With my current yoga streak I am taking a more relaxed approach and that is GREAT! In my first streak I committed to 15 minutes of yoga a day and it had to be a straight 15 minutes. There is no yoga streak rule book that I know of and I made up these rules and with failing to meet that minimum due to running goals, I ended my streak.

I was fine with that. Really I was but like all things in life, things change and I started my yoga streak up again. And this time I said if a mile can take me 10 minutes at an easy pace why not commit to 10 minutes of yoga a day? Then I mellowed out some more and said, hey girlie, why do those 10 minutes need to be continuous? I have lots of little moments in my day when I can strike a pose...or a few...and those moments add up. I try to stick to a minimum of 4-5 minutes just because I feel it takes me that long to start getting some benefit emotionally and physically.

And yes, I do yoga breaks now almost every day. On the weekends I tend to do longer sessions and sometimes a nice 30 minute class but those 5 minutes are adding up to a better me. My co-workers are used to my yoga breaks at work now and I very seldom get odd looks anymore. Those only come from the random visitors to our office. And my poses are getting more ambitious. Just the other day I tossed in some King Dancer poses at my work desk. Of course, the poses I select do have to be tied in properly to what I am wearing and I am fortunate enough to work in atmosphere where casual wear is okay and sometimes I just may be wearing yoga pants. Hence, the King Dancer opportunity.

But some days I dress up and adjust my poses accordingly. A nice dress means no King Dancer but forward folds and poses to open my shoulders and chest are possible. And I do a lot of Palm Tree as it loosens my ankles from standing at my desk all day and I can tell I am getting much stronger with that pose. Plus I focus on pulling in my core and not swaying and perhaps that is why I was able to pull off a 2:30 minute plank after not planking for months!

Besides my own physical strength and well-being, yoga breaks are making me a more productive worker. When I feel my mind going numb or my data entry slowing down, I take a yoga break. I get back to entering at a nice pace as my body is energized, my blood flowing beautifully, and perhaps just giving my mind a moment or two to reflect on my posture and breathing pays off too.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I am able to take care of me at work.

Daily Bible Verse: Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. ~ John 6:47


Gift Ideas for Active People - 2015

Happy Holidays! I am happy to say I am chilling to a wonderful Christmas-themed movie and thinking of all the wonderful gifts I would be thrilled to give to my active loved ones. And to help you out, I thought I would share my gift ideas for you with items falling in all price ranges. And yes, this post does contain some affiliate links.

Hydration, hydration, hydration. It is important for all active people so keep your loved ones hydrated in style.

Do they love to run long? May I suggest a CamelBak Marathoner Vest with some SOS Rehydrate? Use coupon code AMB-DGU-GKF for 15% off when you purchase SOS Rehydrate on their website but it is also available online at Amazon in citrus, berry, or mango, at Longs Drugstores in Hawaii, and other local retailers. 

I have been running in my CamelBak for years so rest assured, you are giving a gift that will be cherished on many long runs and SOS Rehydrate is my go-to and has revolutionized my running. No more upset tummies and I am running longer with less gels. 

But what if your active loved one doesn't run long or doesn't run? An SOS Rehydrate handheld bottle and SOS Rehydrate is certain to keep them going strong and well hydrated.

Looking for  more for your loved one? A Garmin GPS watch will help them track their miles, time, and distance and is a treat that many may not indulge in for themselves. Show them how much you love them with this great timing and distance device!

What to keep them safe? Add in a Nathan StrobeLight. This model varies between off, solid light, or flashing light and makes a great stocking stuffer that shows you care about their visibility during early morning or late evening dark runs. Why not buy more than one to share?

Does your active runner need a place to stash stuff? These Nathan Belt is wonderful and I have found if I wear it lower on my hips it doesn't bounce around at all. Yep, push it down low for it to stay snugly in place.

Another treat for runners and non-runners - a new pair of shoes! I adore my Saucony running shoes and will run in nothing else. If you want to make me really happy, I like Kinvara or Ride

And cross training and diversification is great for all so here are a couple of ideas to help you out there.

An exercise ball to stretch backs and add core strength.

A weighted toning ball to add strength to many in-house exercise routines. 

If your active loved ones are like me and rush out to do errands after exercise, perhaps you may want to add some ShowerPill Athletic Wipes to their stockings to keep them fresh smelling. Use coupon code WIPEDOWN for 15% off when you purchase at ShowerPill but they are also available at Amazon.

And speaking of Amazon, you could give the gift of Amazon Prime! Your loved one will be able to receive FREE shipping on a wide range of athletic supplies throughout the year and stream movies, shows, and music. My household LOVES Amazon Prime and there is something for everyone. A win-win for a house that is now cable-free.

Shop Amazon - Give the Gift of Amazon Prime

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

Daily Bible Verse: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13


20 miles on the treadmill

Aloha Friends,

Here we go again...another long run on the treadmill but this time I think I did some key things to set myself up for success.

First, after horse lessons on Tuesday I was talking to darling daughter about how what we say impacts what we do. If we say we think we may be able to do something, we may. If we say we can't, we don't. But if we say we will, we increase our odds of success just by having confidence in ourselves. I used myself for an example. When I say I hope I will run long or I may run long, I may. But when I say I will, I get it done 99.9% of the time. There are those odds times when my body says no for reasons that are truly valid.

Second, my buddy Toby is working on his own big goals and achievements and I know he is having a hard time. I don't want him to give up so there was no way on this beautiful green Earth that I would give up on him OR my long run. No if's, and's, or but's...get it done Momma. (And nope, I don't think darling daughter has ever called me Momma.)

With that said, running 20 miles on the treadmill is far from easy. Running 20 miles period is far from easy. What did I turn to this time to keep my mind focused??

First, we started with Frozen. Yep, I kinda like that movie and as much I would have loved to stream episodes of Cedar Cove darling daughter would have been less than impressed and running long with an unhappy 7 year old won't work. So Frozen it will be and at least there are some fun tunes in there.

Second, she put in Winnie the Pooh. Oh no! This had me wondering if I could tackle the next 10 miles as happily distracted as the first 10 to Winnie the Pooh. Yes, that bear is cute but can he hold my attention? Time to pull out my book Hearts of Fire as a back-up plan.

Third, on went Once Upon a Forest...another cute movie but not a running distraction movie one bit especially since it is a "quiet" DVD that is hard to hear under the best of circumstances. Time to really dive into reading!

Fourth, social media check-in reports. It helps. I post what I am after, where I am, and I got to chat some with my buddy's mom, how my buddy is doing, etc. Every little bit helps but this was less of a distraction this run since facebook on my phone is acting crazy slow. But that wasn't going to stop me.

Fifth, the wash cloth game once again. I don't know what it is about having daughter move one wash cloth from the stack to be laid out in the done pile that makes me feel like a success! It truly is a silly thing and just means I have wash cloths to pick up later BUT it does give me something to look forward to every 5 miles. Between that and my "aid station" breaks and "pit stops" to replenish my SOS Rehydrate all was pretty good. Well good until those final miles that were just pure determination to keep putting one foot in front of another for my buddy and God.

How did I fuel my run? Well, you already heard about the SOS Rehydrate. I went through three Stix of Berry. I guess I was a sweaty mess but please keep in mind, that final stix was also consumed post run. At mile 3 I had one graham cracker with another three at mile 10. At around mile 15 I convinced darling to share a couple of her Star Bursts with me. Yep, two Star Bursts for a sugary treat to keep my mind feeling happy.

And yes, I am happy I got it done. Post run I showered, pulled on some awesome ProCompression socks, and ate lunch before making homemade tortillas for dinner as it is TACO NIGHT!

Have a blessed weekend full of love and happiness!

Peace and Love,
Erica G

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for having my stereo back home.

Daily Bible Verse: In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 3:8


Holiday Sweat Challenge

Change seems to be the thing in my life right now. Change in work hourse. Change in race starts. Change in co-workers. Change. Change. Change.

Change can be stressful and add in the holidays PLUS two menstrual cycles in October and I turned to too many pieces of candy corn --- this is a recipe for disaster! I need to calm my mind, body, and soul and stay focused on healthy eating. Sometimes I can do it through sole motivation but sometimes it is nice to have a tribe behind you. Starting November 8th, I hope the new holiday sweat tribe will support me over the next 8 weeks the same as the old tribe, and lovely spreadsheet, did. The good news....no fee to enter this year! That is GREAT as I have no disposable income and if there was a fee, I wouldn't be able to play along this year.

So perhaps the challenge's changes will all be good. So who wants to join me and Run to the Finish (and Sweat Pink) to stay healthy, strong, and focused this holiday season? You can learn more HERE.

What do I hope to get out of this challenge? Well, let's link my hopes into November goals.
  1. Run every day with purpose.
  2. Do yoga every day with a clear mind.
  3. Eat healthy. Love my freggies and indulge with sensibility.
  4. Drink water, water, and more water. Say no to alcohol and limit that comforting cup of coffee.
  5. And balance my life with prayer and bible study.
Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for good friends.

Daily Bible Verse: I can do all thrings through him who strengthens me. ~ Philippians 4:13