Welcome to 2019

There were a couple of things I wanted to be very intentional about going into 2019. I wanted my first morning to start slowly with coffee and a new devotional book. I wanted to listen to “Come Alive” from The Greatest Showman soundtrack. And I wanted to go for a run. That last one was not because it’s January 1st but because it’s the 6 month anniversary of hurting my hip.

The morning was lovely and almost exactly what I wanted. I just listened to my song. But I did not run. My hip has been aching since yesterday and today moved up that scale to actual pain a few times. Given how poorly I felt my last two workouts, coupled with the ouchies and the fact that we were pretty occupied cleaning out/packing up a house most of the day, I decided not to force the issue for the sake of such an anniversary.

I have a rough outline of some 2019 events. Lots of concerts, two races that are paid for and at least one or two more that I want to get on the calendar. I don’t make resolutions (they just cause me to feel guilty) and I’m not setting a “word for the year”. But I do want to continue working on being present in the moment/situation, being intentional in relationships and continuing to chase a few goals. None of that is new. Those are areas I will probably be working on the rest of my life. But it’s nice to take a deep breath on the 1st day of the year and remind yourself that every day (hour…minute…) is a new opportunity.

2018 Review

This week between Christmas and New Years is odd. It doesn’t quite feel like 2018 anymore but it’s not quite 2019 and it’s like this black hole of the year. It’s not BAD. It just is.

I decided instead of a (late) week in review post about a week that had almost nothing to report, I would just do my year in review. This one is mostly for me. I’ll be impressed if you make it through all. the. words.

January 2018

Because of work schedules etc, we started the New Year having our family Christmas. I thought maybe having to be available at 8am would help curb the older boys partying. What ACTUALLY happened was Hubs and I were at a friends’ house until after midnight and *I* nearly died at the 8am start time I scheduled. (I laugh about it. Now.) We spent the rest of the first day with our Good Friends, watching an Indiana Jones marathon. It was a fun way to kick off the new year. I signed up for an indoor mini tri later in the year. And those same friends we started the year with? Well the husband has a January birthday and so does my hubby so we celebrated together with a big meal out.

February 2018

Game night with Good Friends. Winter Olympics. I did my first (and last) tri of the year…a mini indoor. Signed up for my first half marathon later in the year (spoiler: I was not able to do it)

March 2018

Hubs and I made an EPIC road trip to Indianapolis for a friend’s wedding. There is a whole HILARIOUS hotel story that I might have to tell you sometime but will probably rank as one of our funniest, and most disturbing, memories ever. He surprised me on the way home by stopping to visit one of my oldest and best friends. Then Hubs went on his first Africa trip of the year.

April 2018

Started with Easter service with my son and then taking Grandma to her church & lunch. Locked my youngest out of the house. (It was an ACCIDENT.) The youngest was awarded “Student of the Month” – an achievement still memorialized on the refrigerator. I bought new running shoes that I was able to put very few miles on. I went to our work women’s retreat. And it snowed. 

May 2018

We celebrated 9 years of marriage! I attended the first annual Treasure Valley Mission Conference and started to get an inkling of what God wanted me to do locally (it had nothing to do with “missions”). About a week later, God very clearly informed me I should be working with our church’s youth group program…specifically 6th grade girls. Despite my protests that I’m not a “kid person”, I volunteered and promptly started praying for my then unknown co-leaders. (They are AMAZING) I bought a wetsuit in anticipation of ALL THE RACES I had planned. (ha) I did a 10k race with a friend. I was under trained and under fueled and it was much hotter than I expected. But I ran with a wonderful woman who made it incredibly fun. The leg/foot cramps afterwards were NOT fun but I discovered pickle juice works miracles. We saw the Glitch Mob with friends and a middle school play that Good Friends’ daughter was in (that was surprisingly hilarious and entertaining!). My middle son turned 20 and my oldest 21 (what?). 

June 2018

Celebrated our Good Friends’ OTHER daughter graduate high school…and cried more than when my older boys graduated. I participated in my first Color Wars with our youth group (like dodgeball but with socks filled with that colored powder). Freaked a barista out after because the colored powdered mixed just right to look like I had major bruising down one side of my face/neck. Nice. Left the same day for the first camp with my youth group girls where we walked approximately 8 miles a day, with hills, did zip lines and bb gun shooting and rock climbing, had wonderful God times, and (mostly) enjoyed being together. Went on a hike I haven’t done in years with my friend Kim and her husband and son. My mother had major oral surgery and a few days later my father had a heart attack. Thankfully he had nitroglycerin and was able to mitigate the damage so we get to have him around awhile longer. 

July 2018

The Amani Children’s Choir from Uganda were in town and led our church worship at a service in the park. I danced enthusiastically with my oldest and tore a muscle in my hip. I was on crutches for 3 weeks, in physical therapy for longer than that and out of all races planned for the year. We worked a fire works stand on the 4th. My husband made the biggest sales of the year wearing a god-awful patriotic cat suit. We went to a party at our Good Friends house later. We attended the wedding of friends from work (same woman I ran the 10k with). I was part of the crew that helped him pull off a pretty sweet proposal but I didn’t document when that happened.

August 2018

My parents came to visit for my birthday. I invited a bunch of friends over to spend the evening on my patio just hanging out and it was wonderful. My youngest started high school. I cried. A lot. No really. A LOT. (But he is THRIVING at this school.) I got back in the pool for the first time since my injury. We went to the hot air balloon festival with friends. 

September 2018

The youth group did our annual “Slip & Slime”. But this year we used foam, not the green slime and chocolate syrup of years past. It was so much fun and the blue dye washed right off. I was so excited to be able to participate a little because I was still barely walking without crutches. I got to take pictures of my oldest and his wonderful girlfriend. We had a President and Board Summit at work – a major event that happens every other year. I had the opportunity to fly on a float plane and land on the river before the event started. I got to go to one of my 6th grade girls cross country meet (SO much fun). 

October 2018

Our former roommate (“foster adult”) got married. It was beautiful. They are LSU fans and I love them enough that I wore a purple dress and gold jewelry to the wedding. No seriously. That is LOVE. (wooo pig sooie) My wonderful husband bought me a ticket to go see the Mixtape Tour (New Kids on the Block, etc)  next year with friends. I may have jumped up and down. My friend Kim invited me to go to the Casting Crowns concert with her. It turned out to be one of the best concert I’ve ever attended. I went to Leader Retreat for our youth group leaders at the same camp where we went with the kids that summer. I attempted the “high v” with another leader. It was terrifying and exhilarating. But mostly terrifying. It snowed. We celebrated the birthday of the wife portion of the Good Friends. My husband left for his second Africa trip of the year…and his longest trip to date. I got to spend Halloween going to dinner and a movie with my youngest.

November 2018

The youngest and I continued our November 5th tradition of watching “V for Vendetta” even though we were the only ones home. My husband came home from Africa. We had a memorable Thanksgiving. The Hubs 102 year old grandmother decided it was time to move to assisted living.

December 2018

I signed up for my first half-Iron distance triathlon to be done in September 2019. We had our first snow of the season and it was on a Sunday so I got to stay inside all day. My great-aunt (my grandmother’s twin) passed away. The Hubs surprised me with tickets to go see Hugh Jackman on tour next year with friends. Grandma moved into assisted living.  Christmas was nice, quiet and somewhat relaxing. I RAN FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE JUNE. (Yes. I am yelling. It is warranted). (That is possibly worth it’s own post.) And we’re only a few days away from 2019.

Are you still here? Wow. I went through a bunch of pictures from 2018 with the intention of one big picture post. That’s not going to happen primarily because the pictures mostly feature other people. I had a lot more thoughts on this year and one word that kept coming to mind as I was reviewing Facebook posts and pictures and texts. But as I started typing, I found I don’t really want to get into it any further publicly. Not now anyway. The year was not bad but in some ways it was “second hand hard”. Very little in my immediate life was negative but there was a lot hard stuff surrounding us. There was a lot of good too though. That’s life though, yes?

December 9 week in review

I am so tired right now I can barely keep my eyes open, much less write. My husband was away last night to take care of a family member. I had dinner delivered and had a comfy lazy evening. When my food was delivered, I had the thought that the delivery guy looked a bit sketchy but it was a fleeting thought and I went on with my evening. When I got ready to go to bed though, my cat didn’t come with me. She always curls up against my legs but I had no idea where she was. My imagination kicked into overdrive. My brain told me the “sketchy” dude (who is probably extremely nice) had realized I was home alone and come back. He had broken into the house while I was in the shower, killed my cat and was waiting for me to either come looking for her or go to sleep. I almost never am afraid to be alone. It’s not my preference but not because of fear. But I totally freaked myself out last night. I turned the living room lights back on (from an app on my phone so I didn’t have to leave the “safety” of my bed). I considered texting my 21 year old son and asking if he could come spend the night. I got mad at myself for being ridiculous but still couldn’t sleep. The cat finally came in after midnight and as soon as she laid down next to me, I passed out. Silliness.

I tried to swim today but thanks to my middle of the night mental antics, I was too tired and cut it short. I’ll be going to bed early tonight.

Okay. Workouts. I was at 50% compliance again:

  • Monday – nothing scheduled
  • Tuesday – spin class – done. I realized not every workout has to be super hard and kinda took it easy.
  • Wednesday – I had a swim planned. It did not happen. I was also going to strength training. That did not happen either
  • Thursday – Spin class was scheduled.. I did not go to spin but I did half an hour on the bike after I “made up” the weight training from Wednesday.
  • Friday – Strength training was scheduled but since I did it on Thursday, I did nothing.
  • Saturday – swim drills – nope. Tried to swim today instead.

Nutrition numbers were worse this week. I was playing with more carbs but I didn’t have the activity level to support those so I had a few hyper readings.

That’s about all I have to report this week. I’m still taking the “off” part of “off season” a little too seriously I think! 

R2D2 vs C3PO

My husband and youngest son have been watching “Clone Wars” on Netflix. It’s a Star Wars animated series. I don’t know the timing within the Star Wars universe (after Anakin is a Jedi, before he’s not) or if it’s considered canon (probably?). It’s not something I really watch although I’ll tune in occasionally. But they usually watch if I go to bed early or am busy elsewhere.

The other night I was in the kitchen while it was on. It was an episode that featured R2D2 and C3PO. And I realized…C3PO irritates me. Or at least he did that episode. But I had a certain admiration for R2D2. C3PO was whiny and immobilized by fear. R2D2 took action. C3PO criticized and was sort of buffeted along by events. R2D2 made solutions happen.

Of course that’s a quick impression based on the few minutes that I was listening. I have seen the movies though and would say overall that’s their “personalities”.

Maybe I wouldn’t like R2D2 if I understood his beeps and whirrs. But in that moment, I realized that although I might resemble R2D2 more physically (short and round), my natural tendency is to react more like C3PO in stressful situations. I can get whiny and want to just curl up under a blanket. But my desire is to consistently be like R2D2 in all respects. I despise the idea of being controlled by fear (or discomfort). I would rather take action through fear or stress. I would rather take the initiative. It takes being conscious of reactions (or lack thereof). It takes practice.

There’s the quote “Courage is not the absence of fear. It is the ability to act in the presence of fear.” (I did not a quick search to credit someone and found a range of similar statements credited to a plethora of people). I don’t think we can live our lives with the purpose God intended if we cannot act in the face of fear. I’m regularly wrestling with staying in a safe, comfortable zone and stepping out to push limits or take action. I just thought it odd that Star Wars could bring that thought process to the forefront again. To R2D2 – may we all be more like him. Except with more clear communication.

Year of No Nonsense

It’s been a  hot minute since I’ve splashed words about this space. I had 2018 all planned, scheduled and tied neatly with a bow until life casually spewed gasoline about and flicked a lit match into the middle of it all.

  • I cancelled an early season race in anticipation of returning to the Philippines. And that trip never came together.
  • I volunteered to co-lead the 6th grade girls group in our church’s youth group – something that is so far outside my comfort zone that it’s not even in the same time zone. Not to mention it completely torpedoed my anticipated schedule.
  • I planned on racing in July, August and September. And July 1st I tore a muscle in my hip resulting in crutches for three weeks and physical therapy. Three and a half months later I still feel regular pain/discomfort and cannot run.

Those are the big ones. And yet, it hasn’t been a bad year. It wasn’t what I expected but it has been full of fun, meaningful, happy moments and events.

That being said, as the tail end of 2018 barrels towards us at an unnerving rate, I am also drawn to the idea of a “Year of No Nonsense”. What is that you ask? For me it means a life focused on a few things: being present in the moment, being kind to myself as well as others, being intentional with important relationships, banishing laziness but embracing rest without guilt…and learning the difference.

I’m a planner by nature. Some of my triathlon friends met to discuss our race plans for next year and I showed up with a spreadsheet. But there’s a necessary balance. I’m attempting to enjoy the process and/or journey instead of focusing on what comes next whether that’s one set at at time in the pool or one conversation at a time.

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Privilege

“I want to practice being comfortable with discomfort”.

Do you ever have a clarifying moment? One of those instances when a thought runs through your head and you suddenly realize just how privileged it is.

“I want to practice being comfortable with discomfort.”

I practice that often. I think it drives my husband a bit nutty when he says “You don’t HAVE to put up with/do <fill in the blank>” (or “You know you can just….”) in an attempt to make my life easier or more comfortable and I refuse. I don’t always consciously choose to be uncomfortable or make something more difficult than necessary but sometimes I do and it’s very much in an attempt to build a tolerance to that sensation. I don’t necessarily WANT to be comfortable. Definitely not all the time.

Let’s sit in that for moment though. Do you see the privilege that saturates the above statements? The fact that I get to CHOOSE whether I want to be uncomfortable or not. The fact that 99% of the time, I get to CHOOSE when to step out of the hardship, difficulty, or discomfort. The fact that I may not want to be comfortable in my (comfortable) American life style but I CAN be. The fact that the mere statement is tinged with arrogance and steeped with first world advantage.

All that doesn’t make it any less true. I still don’t want to be entirely comfortable. If God places me in an incredibly uncomfortable, even painful, inescapable season of life, I don’t want to be blindsided. I don’t believe that I’m only called to a life of comfort and luxury (although I am WELL aware that I have the opportunity to live that right now). (Also – I know there’s a whole spiritual side of that where we could discuss reliance on God etc but I’m currently speaking physically and mentally.)

(And if we’re being really honest, the  most privileged, selfish reason for this is because practicing discomfort helps with triathlon/racing).

How many people do I know, either personally or peripherally, that don’t have the choice of comfort. How many living in third world countries? How many living in deplorable conditions here in the U.S?

I don’t have a nice tidy ending here. No plan of or call to action. Nothing. Just one of those moments of recognition.

Don’t Wanna Not Gonna

A teacher recently described our youngest as “politely defiant”.  I laughed because while he and I have had some pretty epic fights, they only happen when I force him to do an assignment he *really* doesn’t want to do. If someone simply asks him or gently suggests/encourages, he just….won’t. Very quietly. And yes, even politely. If he don’t wanna, he’s not gonna.

But lately, he’s been doing assignments, whether he wants to or not. Hubby explained to him that if he wants to attend the charter high school that he likes, he has to prove NOW that he can work hard. (Assuming, of course, that he even gets drawn in the lottery. But that’s irrelevant to the lesson here.) We’ve had the discussion that even with activities/jobs/projects/classes he LOVES, there will be some element that he doesn’t like. But ultimately, to do what you like, you also have to do those things you don’t. And although it’s only been a couple of weeks, he’s proving he can spur HIMSELF to do the less than fun tasks.

I’ve written two whole paragraphs about lessons we’re trying to teach our youngest. And this post is not ACTUALLY about him.

I’ve been to the gym like…once…in the past two weeks. The temperatures are dropping. It’s dark when we leave home for work. It’s dark when we leave work for home. It’s been rainy. I don’t want to get up early. I don’t want to get in a pool when it’s dark and 30 degrees outside. I don’t want to move after work. I want to lay on the couch, sleep and eat bread & cheese and drink hot chocolate when I do wake up. I am a summer girl through and through. Every year I try not to complain about winter. But I hate it. I am incredibly envious of animals that hibernate through these dark bitter months. Seriously.

Earlier this week I turned off my alarm and slept WAY late. I made it to work on time but it was a rushed morning. I was lamenting that I “just need to find my motivation again.” And yes, that would be nice. But if I rely on finicky motivation, then when I don’t wanna, I’m not gonna. And I’m *really* good about rationalizing why that’s okay.

Turns out that training through the winter is the element of triathlon that I don’t like but I just need to do anyway. If I really want to do well next spring/summer, I have to emerge from my carb filled blanket cocoon even if I don’t have a friend waiting (That turns the training session into a non-negotiable event & I’ll go no matter how little motivation I feel). I think they call it drive. Or grit. Thankfully it’s something that can be developed.

Some lessons are easier to preach than practice.