My Christmas Wish

Christmas is just around the corner and I have been spending the Advent season trying to prepare...at least spiritually. In terms of baking cookies, etc. I feel I have flopped. There just isn't enough hours in the day to do all I want, or need, to do. And I know this struggle is not unique to me but at times I wonder if I am letting darling daughter down.

I can't help but spend some time reflecting on Christmas of the past. When I was a child. Setting up the tree with my family, my Dad putting up Christmas lights, baking cookies with my mom and sisters, or just eating the baking my mom worked hard to do on her own. The house smelled and looked like Christmas and I loved lying by the Christmas tree looking up at the lights and moving the figurines around in the manger. I wish I could go back there right now as that is not the Christmas of today.

But happy memories don't end there. Sometimes we went to my grandparents', sometimes we surprised them, and sometimes I got to see a white Christmas of Michigan versus the green Christmas of Texas. But regardless of where we were, the house always seemed full of family, laughter, fun...and yes, we bickered at times. When you get kids together they can bicker. Okay, the same is true of adults but it was good times. And those good times are not the Christmas of today.

Christmas Eve mass was our thing and we came home looking for Rudolph's shiny red nose, often spotted it, and my Dad bravely would go inside to ensure we didn't surprise Santa. Christmas Eve was a late night as we opened gifts and eventually fell asleep to play and enjoy our gifts more the following morning.

Later I got two Christmas celebrations as Christmas Eve was with some family and Christmas Day with others. I got two different feasts and two amazing days to cherish family and celebrate Jesus' birth. This is really cool when you look back on it but yet, that is not the Christmas of today.

Things these days are very different. The house is not full of family. There are no bickering kids but maybe a bickering hubby and daughter. And as much as I try to get the sights and smells of Christmas, sometimes I wonder if I am doing enough. A family of 3 separated from family by a huge vast ocean is not the same as a family of 5 where road trips were possible and airfare more affordable.

Since 1998, Christmas just hasn't been the same and I miss my extended family holidays. I miss my Dad and I know I will never be able to spend another Christmas with him but I would be over the top ecstatic to spend the holidays with family even if it included bickering. It isn't that I don't love my family of 3 but my heart yearns for more.

I know I can't make that happen in a few days but I am not giving up on my Christmas wish, my Christmas prayer, for a more joy-filled house that has less bickering, arguing, judging and more loving, accepting, listening. A more joy-filled heart for myself and that the burden of depression, anxiety, and financial stress and worry is lessened...or I am better armored to manage them. I want the true beauty of Christmas to radiate as much as that newborn babe radiated and the star shone so bright guiding the wise men. I want to feel a strong embrace of God's love and let go of the worries of this world. I want my faith to explode in growth and to just be at peace accepting God's love and not be drawn down by the secular world, unkind words, and unkind actions. I want the strength to not let those things hurt me and negatively impact me. I need God's strength and I believe in the magic of Christmas and that my prayers will come true.

Merry Christmas and if you are with extended family today, please give them an extra hug or kiss.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for happy Christmas memories.

Daily Bible Verse: We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you. ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-12


Let's get out of this running rut

Running ruts can happen and you can spend so much energy (or at least I can) trying to ascertain why but eventually you have to decide, the why doesn't matter. What's next?

Decide what is important to you. Does running really mean something to you and your life? For me, ABSOLUTELY! It is my go to for stress release but when I spend so much time stressing about running it becomes counterproductive. Personally, I let myself get too wrapped up in pace and comparison to past performance, get down on myself, feel bad about myself (and that doesn't help my depression), and the viscous running rut continues and spirals out of control. Don't do that. Learn from my mistakes, please.

So I have decided my primary rule for getting out of a running rut is to let go of all expectations in terms of pace and distance and just run. Run like a kid. Run for fun. I know, I know....easier said then done so lets look at some other tips to find the joy in running again.

1. If you can afford it, treat yourself to some new running gear to celebrate how far you have come. You can do this right away or set a SMART goal that you can reach. SMART is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Maybe not running 1000 miles but going out for 5 runs. Just an idea. And if you are looking for treat ideas, I gotta say Bondi Band has great products and you can use EGFITNESS to get 10% off or head over to Elk River Soaps and get yourself some nice bath bombs. They are.....well....da bomb! And yes, these are affiliate links but I wouldn't share and promote them if I truly didn't love the products. Seriously, that would be tremendously uncool!

2. Get a running buddy if you can. This is hard for me but can be doable for so many and hey, look into running groups. We have two here on Maui - one on Sunday mornings that conflicts with church and one on Wednesday evenings that conflicts with darling's horse lessons but maybe you will be luckier. Both here are super friendly and open to all ages and paces.

3. Get a new training plan. Sometimes letting go of the old and doing something new brings fresh joy. I did this with a twist in my overall fitness plan by setting the goal to do 52 new workouts in 2017. Right now I am at 61 new workouts. Some were duds. Some were keepers but all were fun. Okay, almost all. I ditched one just minutes into it. It was a yoga workout that just left me feeling not good at all from the start so I abandoned it for another. But the workouts kept me moving for more minutes when my legs didn't want to run more miles.

4. Change things up. Maybe your running routine has become boring and let me tell you, running on the home treadmill does have a boredom factor. Maybe get a good book/audiobook to switch things up. Run outside if you can. Run somewhere new. And for me, when I couldn't switch much of this I cross trained. Didn't help much with the running rut per se but has kept me fit and I have grown stronger. This is kinda like #3 but I guess change is really important to me and the change can even be pace within your run. You know, run like a kid! Watch one run. They start and stop a zillion times. Try it.

5. Sign up for a gym membership, again, if you can afford it. This will help change things up for you and give you the chance to cross train if you don't have a home gym. I do miss the inspiration I got from others at the gym. Even the hello's were inspiring and the good job's when you left. People can make a world of difference! Hey, we all love a good job, don't we?

6. Raise some money! Running for a cause helps make your running mean more. I run for Toby through IR4 and recently set up a new virtual mission to run across Alaska for Toby AND to raise money so if you want to contribute to a charitable cause and keep me inspired, check it out HERE. To set up the mission with a charity I believe in it had to be done through PayPal but I promise you, 100% of funds raised will go to my charity of choice - Catholic Charities. Mahalo for your support and if you donate $75 or more, I will send you a gift - a rosary handmade with love by me.

116.6 miles into the 719.2 mile mission
Maybe this icy patch is why I am running slower :)

7. Finally, commit. I have been running at least a mile every single day since December 29, 2011 and that in itself helps keep me going even if I have had too many just a mile days this year. But, I am still running and for that, I am thankful.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I have a home treadmill.

Daily Bible Verse: Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! ~ 2 Corinthians 9:15 ESV


Revisiting my 2017 power word

Someone just asked, "Sum up 2017 in one word." It caught me off guard because, wow! How can I do that?! But more importantly it got me to thinking, what was my power word for 2017 anyhow.

So I looked back and found it. Fortitude.

It never ceases to amaze me when I reflect back on the year from the perspective of my power word it is always a good fit. 

Fortitude: Courage in the face of adversity, courage in pain, courage when the going gets tough. I said I would not let what others say or do bring me down.

I am not sure I was 100% successful especially with that last part. Just this morning I let someone's criticism not only bring me down but so far down that I strayed from the good and loving person I wanted to be to an angry, heart broken woman in tears all because of hurtful words. It is crushing.

But 2017 has indeed tested me in more ways than one. It has been the hardest year emotionally even when compared to the year my father died. Depression and anxiety have been unbearable on so many days and to be brutally honest, the past three months such a burden. Plus so many loved ones have been diagnosed with cancer this year that that I find it hard to focus.

And as I sat at the table wondering what next, how will I go on, and clinging to my prayers and bible it hit me. I would not be able to take one ounce of this without my faith. It has been so hard but my faith has held me up. God has been with me every step of the way and that is a comfort. I am never alone. Even if people on Earth, especially those closest to me leave me feeling unloved and abandoned, God will not abandon me.

When I started this post I had no thought of announcing my 2018 power word. Hey, I didn't even know what it was! I was just going to reflect on 2017 and the fortitude I asked for, needed, and received. But as I type with teary eyes I feel the calling to announce my 2018 word that God placed on my heart......JOY.

Dear God,

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change those I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Please, grant me my wish for a more joy-filled 2018 and may I let go of my burden, accept the help offered to me, especially the help from your precious son, Jesus. Help me to let go of the should's and should not's. Life is not how I envisioned it to be but I trust in you and know it is how you want it to be. I may not see the path but may be heart remain full of your joy and my confidence in you. Thank you for the gift of faith. I can only pray all others can receive this precious gift too.

In Jesus' name I pray,

And who knows, maybe in 2018 I will get my running vibes back but regardless, I will be thankful for all that I can do. I did not give up on my streak. I did not give up on life. I will not give up on joy, peace, and all the wonders that God is ready and waiting to shower down on us all. 


Christmas Gift Ideas

Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones. I hope your holiday season is full of love and grace. This year my family is focusing less on gifts and more on Jesus' love but we still do a few gifts here and there. And I am hard to buy for because all I want is peace and goodwill to all mankind!

With that said, it makes life tough for hubby when I say, nope, don't need a thing. Well I do want a Roomba so I am not pulling out the vacuum every day to clean up pet messes but that is way out of the budget unless I raise a lot of income through the affiliate links in this post.

But there are affordable gifts that I would love and I want to share them because I am sure there is someone on your list that may be hard to buy for, who has everything they need, does not give you any hints and is a hard as me saying, no gift needed, and you are like hubby and don't like that answer. He didn't even like my get me a gift card for my coffee or dairy-free cheese!!!

One thing that is great for all is Elk River Soaps - Darling daughter and I LOVE the bath bombs and they come in bags of mini bombs, each bag has six, or you can get one larger bomb for a stronger scent and color. They even have some featured holiday bombs in both a bag of "Snowman Poop" for $10.99 (they have the funniest names and the Monkey Farts - those bath bombs are an explosion of fun!), larger Christmas tree or Frosty bombs for $8.99, or a Christmas Spirit bar of soap for $6.99.

They even have so much more! Aromatherapy, wax melts, and all kinds of body care. Their Buzz Off for bugs was pretty amazing too and kept me bite free many afternoons at the stables.

All items are handmade in Missouri, have $6.95 flat rate shipping, and their website shows you a calendar with order days to get in time for Christmas for your neck of the woods.

Another great place to shop is Bondi Band and I have been running in their wicking headbands for eons and they hold up! And y'all, you can use EGFITNESS to receive 10% off (some restrictions apply such as they are already giving you a better deal). Seriously y'all, I love this company and have been purchasing from them since they were just headbands but they have grown to so much more - undies, armbands, hair ties, neck gators, visors, hats, and even weighted blankets!

I just recently splurged on their weighted blanket and LOVE it. I always thought being under the weight would be annoying, hot, uncomfortable even though I read lots of reports that they are good for so many reasons - ADD/ADHD, anxiety, insomnia and more. I decided to give it a try since my depression/anxiety has been awful this year and y'all, this blanket is like a huge hug. It can be found on their website under featured new but right now, I hear it sold like hot cakes and may be out of stock so if you can't find it, that is why. Sorry. But keep checking...it is worth it!

Darling daughter and I have also been crafting away and have a huge assortment of items available for sale. You can email me for availability and pricing if you see something you love after following this link but today I am going to highlight my lap throws.

These are perfect when you need just a little extra warmth or for in the car. Each are handmade with love, as are all our items, and I am offering the throws for $45 including shipping and handling via flat rate priority and you know that costs a bit. Each item is one of a kind so email me if you are interested or have any questions.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful darling likes to craft with me.

Daily Bible Verse: Let all that you do be done in love. ~ 1 Corinthians 16:14