When Life Rains In Your Sandbox….




I recently ran my first half marathon (that is me, obviously, to the left, less than 100 yards from the finish line after running 13 miles. Photo credit to brightroom.com I did not buy their images but this is one of the images they asked me to buy).

The weather was chilly at the start but perfect at the finish. I had slept poorly the night before and I despise having to get up before the sun to do just about anything, so I was a little grumpy. I actually knew some other folks that were running and was surprised to actually find them in the mass of runners, two of which I saw before the race began. Seeing them helped to boost my spirit.

Before the race officially starts, you group up according to the time you in which predict to finish. I had a goal of running under two hours, so I lined up around that time. While small talking to a runner next to me, he told me I had “high expectations” based off where I lined up, considering this was my first half marathon. I told him I ran frequently, so I hoped to make my goal. I could tell he had little faith in me and basically figured I would be walking by mile 4.

I took off and felt great. Before I knew it, I was 5 miles into the race, not even phased. I did start to feel the miles at about mile 8. While running, I was looking at my stopwatch, trying to figure out my pace. For some reason, my mind would *not* let me do the math. Seriously, I would just look at the time and draw a blank. It was as if my mind was making me just think only about running, not about time. I had decided that I was not going to make my goal time, and I was beginning to bring myself to believe that it was not a big deal. I operated under such an assumption for about 2 miles.

A little past mile 10, I looked over and the guy from the start was next to me. I swatted at his arm and said, “Hey!” He was totally shocked to see me. Immediately, he piped in with a “You are going to make it!” “What?” I asked. “You are going to make your goal!” “Seriously?” I replied. “Yeah! In fact, you could just stop and walk right now and you will still make it.”

Well, friends, this was what I needed to hear, as well as what I didn’t need to hear. Knowing I was going to make it made me happy but knowing I was “safe,” I gave myself permission to slow down, and slow down I did. I was tired and just began to take it easy. From the 1/2 way mark split, I added almost 30 seconds to each mile, moving from an 8:15 to an 8:42 minute mile. I would argue that I had actually kept that 8:15 mile pace until right past mile 10, when I added well over a minute to my pace.

In the end, however, I did make my goal, slow last 3 miles or not. I finished in a time of 1:53. That time placed me at 24th in my female age group, 397th of all finishers (they maxed out registration at 2,600, I believe), and 101st of all females. The runner that won ran a 1:05 and the first female was a 1:17 (I think they both had wings). All in all, it was fun. I just wish I could somehow convince everyone that races should start at about 9 or 10 AM so that runners could get more beauty sleep!

Below is me with my finishers medal:It seriously bothered me for a few hours as to why there was so much sweat on my shirt. I just don’t really sweat. I am one of those folks that just doesn’t, and it was by no means a hot day. I certainly did not remember that wet shirt feeling while running. It finally dawned on me where all that water came from: they gave me a wet towel when I crossed the finish line. I wiped my face and then draped it over my neck so that I could have my hands free to get my food. And, to prove that fact, see exhibit A at the top, where I am 100 yards from the finish with no sweat.

The Calculator Story

I’ve mentioned before how the kids can be a major distraction in the car. Being that they sit right next to one another in their car seats, they have ample opportunity to annoy one another, touch each other, take items from one another, or any combination of the like.

Today, Wesley was holding a calculator that I had given him to play with. It was not on but Wesley was pretty content to just push the buttons. Daniel decided that Wesley needed to have the calculator turned on so that he could see a product from all the buttons he was pushing. He reached over and tried to grab the calculator form his little brother. The next thing I know, Wesley is emitting squeals and shrieks that dogs within a mile range must have heard and made humans within close proximity have blood ooze out of their ears. He spliced in a few “No! No! No!” rants to Daniel, which then made Daniel start to cry. Daniel looked at his brother, while jerking the calculator towards his own car seat, and said, “I just want to fix it Wesley. Let me fix it for you!” between sobs of sadness. Finally, Wesley let Daniel have it, which was the exact moment that everything in the car went silent. A brief moment later, Daniel hands the calculator back, saying, “Here you go Wesley; I fixed it.” Wesley reaches over and takes the calculator and follows with a quick “Tank ewe Dandul.” Now, thanks to his brother, when Wesley pushed the buttons, there were numbers showing up on the screen. This new found goodness made Wesley giggle and smile.

When my ears stopped bleeding, I reflected upon this scene with the spiritual implications that it oozes with.

We hold on to so many things in our life, fighting with God for control. We think giving something over to Him puts us out, at a loss. Instead, He wants us to concede and let go of our grip. He doesn’t want us to let go so that he can mock us while He enjoys the benefits, nor does He want us to hand it to Him just so he can say He has it and not us. It is all His anyway. God’s desire is for us to hand it over so that He can fix it for us. He wants to help solve the issue, make things even better than we imagine, but He certainly can’t do that unless we relinquish control. In His hands, and His hands only, can it be made into something that works well.

I know I have let our my own fair share of blood curdling screams when something does not go my way. I have fought with all my might to keep something under my control and in my hands. All the while, my Heavenly Father is just waiting for me to let Him have it.

Man, oh man, how I need to just give it to my Lord, for when He touches it, I have, in the end, something that makes me giggle and smile.


Cowboy Dan

Look out, Ladies. It’s Cowboy Dan.

Looks pretty good lasso and guitar in hand, doesn’t he? We had so much fun playing cowboys and pirates the other day. Too bad he is completely unimpressed with the cowboy gear and still wants to be popcorn for Halloween. *Sigh* Looks like momma has a new project on her hands this week.

Cuteness of Late

I just wanted to share some of the cuteness of late from my children. Granted, I think most things they do are cute, but on these I think you will agree with me.

Daniel, ever since his Grandpa Tom stayed the night with him while we were in NM, has been saying, “Wait! I have to go get my coffee” or “I am going to drink my coffee slowly.” Sunday, before heading out to church, he proclaimed that he needed his coffee before he could leave:

That same Sunday, after photographing Daniel, Wesley began hamming it up for the camera. He was laughing oh so hard every time we tried to take a picture he would scrunch up his nose and laugh:

Wednesday night at church, Daniel and his classmates colored pumpkins. When I came from my class to pick him up, he handed me his picture. I looked at his teachers and said “Did he color this?” They both responded with “Yes! Isn’t it great!” I totally couldn’t agree more. He truly is a bit of an obsessive first born, which is paying off in the form of perfect pumpkins from a 3 year old, eveidence to which resides on our fridge:

Finally, in our homeschooling preschooling day, we were studying Matthew 5:9, which states, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.” I discussed with Daniel what it means to be a peacemaker, how he could be one with Wesley, and things of the like, while he colored a picture with the verse on the bottom. Later that day, while reinforcing our verse and the concept, I asked Daniel if he wanted to be a peacemaker, to which he replied, “No, I don’t want to be a peasmaker, I want to be popcorn for Trick-or-Treat.” Guess we still need to work on that one :O). And no, I am not hunting down or making a popcorn outfit for him to go trick-or-treating in for Halloween. Thomas said I should, but I quickly informed Thomas that earlier that day, Daniel said he wanted to be a window for trick-or-treating.

So, there you go, some recent cuteness for your reading and viewing enjoyment. I hope perhaps their loveliness has brightened your day.

New Mexico Trip

Thomas had a conference that he needed to attend for work. This is an annual conference that he will need to be present at so that he can get his continuing education units. Last year it was in Minnesota but I did not go with him. Instead, I was home with the boys, painting a bathroom to help pass the time. This time, however, it was in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I went with him, sans kiddos, just like I did for his business trip to Hawaii.

He was occupied each day from about 8 to 5. This meant I had pretty much all day to myself, which is so abnormal yet very splendid. We did not have a rental car except for one day, so I had to manage journeying by trains, taxis, shuttle services, feet, and things of the like. Fortunately, with a bit of creativity in connecting some form of the above, I was able to do and see many things.

In case you did not know, (because we didn’t  until right before we went) Albuquerque is the home to a world renown balloon festival that just happened to be occurring while we were there. Literally hundreds of balloons mass ascend each morning and float in the sky all day long. They even have balloon glows at night, which we attended once. We did not get to see any balloons though because the winds were too high for flight. It was quite disappointing, but fortunately we were able to see them in other ways.

One way I was able to see more of the Ballon Fiesta was while on a 3 hour kayak trip down the Rio Grande at sunrise. Balloons floated over our heads all morning long, and the view was simply spectacular. I somehow managed to be on a media trip, so all of these journalists were asking me, the one tourist, to pose for pictures. I was certainly not the best looking subject, being that the Sandia mountains were clearly in view and balloons were all around but I was the only human option they had, so I guess I would have to work :O)I also took a tram to the top of the Sandia Mountains, while enjoying discussions with strangers, good fun, and spectacular views.

Together we visited Old Town Albuquerque, became captivated by The Cathedral Basicillica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, traveled the scenic Turquoise Trail, visited an old mining community,  met one of my old basketball friends from high school, enjoyed company  with my cousin, devoured wonderful, authentic New Mexican food, journeyed historic Route 66,  experienced our first casino (while walking away with over $140 dollars that we did not enter with), and basically just soaked up quiet time together.

For Thomas it was mostly work with a little play but for me it was all play! I am so grateful for the ability to go, not to mention the amazing mother and in-laws that took care of our precious children. Without them,                                  it might have been another year of me painting at home. Thanks Grandma, Nana, and Grandpa Tom :O)

It’s Not You, It’s Me

So, I just wanted to say if I have not returned your call, called in the first place, or replied to a text recently that it is not you, it is me—or more accurately my phone!

My phone died of all function, except for calling the last person to call me. All of this occurs, of course, when I am out of state traveling (more on that to come). Bad timing, for sure. Fortunately, I just got it in April, so it is still under the original warranty. After logging my issue with customer service, a new phone arrived at my door step the next day. Yippe!

I took a look at the guide and decided to pass of the responsibility to the hubby to make sure my contacts were saved to the card, along with a few other matters. Being that the phone was non-functional, it turns out all we could do was move the card over and hope fore the best. Turns out, I only had 13 contacts on my card that transferred over. Bummer. I had many, many more. And the 13 that made the move were truly contacts I could have lived without. Seriously.

Anyway, I am now without contacts (of the phone kind, not of the eye…..because I need my eye contacts or I am blind, but I guess that is a different matter).

Don’t be hatin’ me if I do not call. I just don’t know how to reach you anymore. It’s not you, it’s me, and my stupid phone.

(P.S.- those that would like, I would love to receive a text or an e-mail or a phone call from you so that I can log you into my phone again!)