Relapse

One of my biggest fears since losing a boatload of weight is that I would gain weight again.  I’m terrified of that happening.  I never want to be overweight again.  I hated how I felt physically and mentally as an overweight obese person, and for the most part that fear has kept me on the straight and narrow in making good food choices.  That, and the fact that my desire for junk food is essentially gone.  Well, mostly gone.

But then it happened.  I’ve gained some weight.  Not a lot.  I bet most people who see me every day can’t even tell, but I know.  While I’m learning not to be totally obsessed by the number on the scale, when I know what I’ve been eating and I see that number go up, I know I’ve put on some weight.

Confession time.  I’ve been eating way too much chocolate.  Like every day, having something chocolate.  I know what my trigger for sweets is–fatigue.  When I’m tired, I crave chocolate like a drowning man must crave air.  I feel like I HAVE to have sugar.  And my resistance to temptation when I’m tired is zilch.  I feel like my will power is completely tapped out, and I give in.  Every.  Single.  Time.

IMG_1280Working night shift, I spend about 75% of my week tired.  I’m up for over 24 hours more than one day a week.  It’s a tough schedule, and Lord willing, I’ll be able to come off of it soon.  So while I tend to want to comfort myself with this notion that I have reason to be tired and that chocolate is just helping me get through the day, I am NOT okay with gaining weight.  And I recognize that stinkin’ thinkin’ in my excuse.  Chocolate is food, an inanimate object; it can’t make me do anything.  And it can’t really make me less tired.  Fatigue or not, I chose to eat enough chocolate to put on a few pounds.  Me.  I did it.

So my old fat self would have beaten myself up, said “to heck with it” and had some more chocolate.  Anybody in that boat with me?  But having gone through a major weight loss, I’ve learned some valuable lessons and gained some tools that I think will get me back on track.  This is how I’m handling this little set back:

  1.  Remember.  I find myself thinking back to how I felt before I lost weight, reliving those aches and pains and negative thoughts and emotions.  I don’t want that again.  That’s enough to motivate me to get back on track.
  2. Go back to the basics.  I’ve pulled up my Lose It! app again and am tracking my calories daily again.  I need that concrete reminder of how002 many calories chocolate deducts from my “calorie bank” and then, deciding if having chocolate is worth going over my calorie limit or being hungry the rest of the day.
  3. Find new ways to deal with fatigue.  It’s tough when you’re halfway through a 12 hour night shift and find yourself absolutely exhausted.  That’s when I really start craving chocolate.  I’m still working on this part; it’s definitely the hardest part for me, but I’m trying to deal with it by not keeping cash on me (so I can’t go to the vending machines) and by bringing healthy snacks like fruit, protein bars, or a baggie of almonds and raisins to work with me.  When I’m home and the cravings hit, I’m trying to just distract myself with another activity or if I have time, just lie down for a nap.

So I’ll keep you posted on how things are going.  If you find yourself in this same position of having lost some weight and now gaining some, don’t beat yourself up!  This does NOT mean the end of your healthy lifestyle!  Own the choices you’ve made that have led to the weight gain, and get back on track.  We’ll do it together!

Talk to me:

How do you handle set backs on the choices you’ve made to live a healthier life?

What’s your favorite weight loss/health app?

A Single’s Take on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be an uncomfortable day for me, as I think it can be for most single folks.  When a day is geared towards romantic love and relationships, and you’re single, like me, where does that leave you?  At home, alone, feeling depressed because apparently I’m so ugly and unlovable that nobody wants to be with me?  Seriously, I used to feel that way.  And sometimes, I still wonder what it would be like to be with someone who was totally enamored with me on Valentine’s Day.

But dwelling on those thoughts is really what makes me miserable, not being single.  It’s desiring what I don’t have instead of treasuring what I do have that makes me unhappy.  And what I do have is abundant!

  1. I have family and friends who love me, not in a romantic type of way, but in that comfortable kind of no matter what happens we’ll still be there for you kind of way.  That’s a priceless gift!
  2. I have an entire evening free on Valentine’s night.  I can either choose to lay around home and mope, or I can babysit for a couple so they can continue on with the hard work of making a relationship work.  Time is a beautiful gift.  I want to use it well.
  3. I have a relationship with a God who is enamored with me.  It’s always humbling when I remember that the God of the universe delights in me, that he chose me to be his daughter, that he wants to spend time with me, that his love for me is so strong he let his son die for me.  Just sayin’…no human relationship can match that!

I’m not saying I always do a good job at keeping this perspective.  It’s still hard to be alone on a day that celebrates romance and relationships, even though I’m content being single.  But I’m learning that joy is a choice.  So instead of joining the ranks of single folk sporting black hearts in defiance of Valentine’s Day, I hope this year I can truly celebrate the fact that my friends and family have found the love of their lives and look for ways I can cheer them on in their chosen path of life.

Talk to me:

How will you spend Valentine’s Day this year?

Since I’ve Been MIA…

Time flies when you’re having fun…and sometimes even when you’re not, right?  Actually, life has been good, just busy, and because I feel like I’ve kind of just dropped out of the blogging world for the last couple of weeks, I thought I’d just catch you up on what’s been going on since I’ve been MIA.

  1.  I ran a 10K PR!  I’m only just starting to increase my weekly mileage and the distance of my long runs since my stress injury following my last marathon in November, so when the Go Short, Go Long, Go Very Long race rolled around towards the end of January, I knew I wasn’t ready to do the 25K distance that I had originally set my sights on.  But I felt reasonably sure I could do a 10K.  My plan was to use the middle 3 miles as a 5K time trial, but the pace felt good so I kept going and crossed the finish line in 54 minutes and 27 seconds!  I love getting PRs, especially unexpected ones!IMG_1416
  2. I moved up a pace group in training runs.  I’m not training for any specific race at the moment, but I signed up for mIMG_1443arathon training because I enjoy running with a group and to just stay in shape.  Because I’m running just to run for now, I decided to challenge myself and move up to the next fastest pace group.  Wow!  Saturday runs have gone from being easy, conversational runs to feeling like a race every week.  Saturday runs have become a definite challenge, and while I’m tempted to move back to my old pace group, the competitor in me wants to see if I can keep up this faster pace for longer distances.  We’ll see how that goes…
  3. I nearly knocked myself out with a barbell.  So we were working on split jerks at CrossFit.  I was on my fifth of 5 heavy singles.  I had 85 pounds on my bar, dipped to load my leg muscles, and with all the force in my legs, I drove those 85 pounds right smack into the underneath side of my chin.  That’s what happens when you don’t get your head out of the way in time apparently.  My head felt like my skull was just bouncing around in there, seriously.  But don’t get the wrong idea about CrossFit.  Coach had taught us the right way to split jerk and even warned us about making sure we don’t get our heads in the way.  I think I have learned my lesson!
  4. I passed my program final exam!  That’s a big part of what’s kept me away from blogging–well, studying, that is.  Thankfully, Sunny was right there to oversee my studying progress.  I was only slightly less IMG_1432nervous going into that exam than I was going into my graduate final oral exam.  But as most things usually are, it was not nearly as bad as I’d anticipated (maybe all that studying just prepared me well?).  And now Monday, I begin 180 hours of externship where the rubber meets the road.  I’m feeling really nervous…

So that’s been my life lately.  Stay tuned for posts that will be more helpful (hopefully) to your quest for health.

Talk to me:

What’s been going on in your life lately?

What’s the weirdest way you’ve ever injured yourself?

On the Other Side of Fear

You may remember that last August I started a fitness and health training program with a goal of becoming a certified personal trainer in mind.  At the time, I questioned my sanity.  I mean, I’ve invested 24 years into my nursing career.  I have a masters degree in nursing, for Pete’s sake!  Was I really thinking about throwing all that away to follow some hair brained scheme of becoming a personal trainer?

Now I’m one week away from finishing the classroom portion of the program.  One week!  And I’m swimming in fear.  As I’ve talked with career services at the school to make plans to begin my 180 hours of externship, the reality of the path I’m on hit me like a ton of bricks.  We’re talking waking up at night, doubts swirling in my mind, feelings of inadequacy ripping me apart.  Am I crazy?  I’m in my 40’s, well established in a steady career…and yet, here I am, hoping to launch my own business in a completely different field.  I really must be nuts.  What if it doesn’t take off?  What if I don’t know how to run a business?  What if I don’t know how to help my clients?  What if I can’t even get any clients?  What if…?

“What if” has been the bane of my existence for most of my life.  It’s that fear of failure, of caring more about what others think of me than of just trying.  It’s the fear that I’m not good enough.

So as I’m grappling with these feelings yet again (seriously, when will fear just leave me alone?), I find myself thinking about why my blog is titled On the Other Side of Fat, Fear, and Forty.  On the other side of fear…

On the other side of fear, there’s the risk of failure, for sure.  But there’s also the huge opportunity for growth in that failure.  And isn’t that what failure really is–just not learning from the experience?

On the other side of fear, there’s hope–hope for new beginnings, of living out a passion, of not just surviving but LIVING.

On the other side of fear, there’s faith.  Taking a step of faith has got to be one of the most uncomfortable and scary things ever, but trusting that God has my back works that faith muscle and makes it grow.

On the other side of fear, there’s endless possibility.  Who knows really what could happen?  Maybe what happens is something totally different than what I envisioned.

On the other side of fear, there’s peace.  Maybe things don’t pan out the way I’d hoped or expected, but at least I don’t have the regret of never knowing because I never tried.

On the other side of fear, there’s adventure!  I mean, I’m taking an untraveled path.  Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a new experience, and good or bad,  it’s bound to be an adventure.

So I’m buckling my seatbelt, preparing for the leap, and hoping my nerves don’t fail me!  Ready or not, here we go!!!

Talk to me:

What’s been the most scary thing you’ve ever done?

If you could do anything you wanted, knowing that you wouldn’t fail, what would it be?

Surviving Winter Running

I used to be a fair weather runner.  If it wasn’t sunny and 60 degrees, I probably wasn’t going to run outside.  I may run on the treadmill, but I just wasn’t into running in the rain and the cold and the snow…But then I started training with a group who are not JUST fair runner weathers (or fair weather runners, as the case may be!).  They run in all types of weather–hot, cold, rainy, windy, snowy.  The one condition that nixes an outside run, though, is lightning.  Safety first, above all else.

Oddly enough, over the years, I’ve discovered that I like running in the rain and the snow.  The elements add dimension and interest to running.  And I actually prefer running in the cold instead of the heat.  So yeah, I’ve become an all weather runner.  The run this past weekend cemented that.

This was the view outside on Saturday morning, the morning we had a 7 mile run planned.

IMG_1409The dread of Oklahoma winters–ice.  Thankfully, here in Tulsa, only elevated services got covered in ice.  The roads were wet but not slippery, so our run was a go!

Rain was pouring down, and temperatures were somewhere around the freezing mark when we began our run.  It was COLD!  Barely a minute into the run, I stepped in a puddle of water and soaked my feet.  So I stopped worrying about getting my feet wet.  It already happened.  I just settled into the pace and took in the beauty of ice-covered trees.

So I thought today I’d give you my tips on surviving a run in less than ideal conditions.

  1.  Wear a waterproof jacket.  I’m learning that there is a difference between waterproof and water-resistant.  Water-resistant gear repels water but won’t necessarily keep you dry.  Waterproof gear is supposed to keep you dry.  My NorthFace waterproof jacket held up beautifully on our 7 mile run in full on rain and drizzle.  I didn’t get wet at all.  The only IMG_1405downside to waterproof/resistant gear is that it tends not to be very breathable.  It can get really hot underneath there, so you may not need as many layers on the top as you normally would.  With near freezing temps, I was plenty warm with just a long sleeve technical tee and my jacket.
  2. Wear a hat with a bill.  When I’m running in precipitation, a hat with a bill is a must.  I wear glasses, can’t see a thing without them, and would be in big trouble if the lenses became occluded with water.  Think of how hard it is to see through a windshield in the rain with no windshield wipers.  But whether you wear glasses or not, a hat with a bill keeps the rain or snow out of your face and eyes.  For warmth, I like to wear a headband that covers my ears and my hat over my headband.  I am a fan of Headsweats hats.  They are lightweight, breathable, and easy to adjust for size.IMG_0332
  3. Layer up those gloves!  My hands get miserably cold in the winter.  There are hand warmers that you can use, but I landed on a solution that works great for me.  First, I put on a lightweight pair of moisture wicking gloves.  Next, I put on a pair of just regular knit gloves.  On top of that I put a sock on each hand.  Yes, I said socks.  They act as mittens, keeping your fingers together for warmth.  Through 7 miles in cold rain, my hands stayed nice and warm!IMG_0333
  4. Dress in layers on the bottom.  Some guys on our run Saturday were dressed in shorts.  Maybe I’m a weenie, but I need something to cover my legs when it’s wet and cold outside.  But I don’t want bulky clothing.  I like to wear a pair of running tights and put on a lightweight pair of wind pants on top of them.  The tights provide warmth and the wind pants really block the chill of the wind but don’t add any bulk or weight.  Plus, they protected my legs from the splashing water as we ran through puddles.
  5. Socks–wear them.  I’ve discovered that my favorite running socks, Feetures, tend to dry quickly, or at least don’t feel wet, when they do get wet.  As I mentioned, my feet got soaked early in the run.  My feet initially felt wet and cold, but after just a few minutes, I didn’t notice the IMG_0334wetness any more.  When I got home and took off my shoes and socks, I discovered that my socks were pretty much soaked, although I couldn’t tell.  I am a Feetures fan, so I haven’t tried any other running socks to compare them to, but I was happy with the way Feetures performed in the rain.
  6. Be safe!  Above all, think safety.  If it’s a foggy, gray day, remember your lights.  Let drivers know you’re sharing the streets with them.  Slow your pace.  Wet streets can turn slippery quick whether there’s ice on them or not.  And obviously, if there’s lightning in them thar clouds, stay inside!  No run’s worth getting zapped for.

So don’t let the elements deter you!  Snowy runs have been some of my best runs.  The cold is invigorating, on top of exercise that is also invigorating!

Talk to me:

What kind of outdoor activities do you enjoy in winter?

I’d love to see photos of how you keep on the move in winter.  Leave a comment with your photo attached.

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It’s a Cat’s Life

Hi, humans!  Sunny, the cat, here.  My human is tired and ignoring me today, so I’ve decided to hijack its blog and give y’all something really interesting to read…instead of all that running dribble.  Bleh.

You know what my human does.  It wakes up and runs or does this thing called CrossFit.  Whatever.  I don’t get it when there are so many more fun things to do.  Like catching wrinkles.  Now that’s a fun way to start the day!  Jump up on the bed when your human is trying to straighten the covers and try to catch those wrinkles.  Don’t be deceived!  Wrinkles are ornery little buggers, and catching them is harder than you think!IMG_1398Or–human feet.  They make for great entertainment.  Just hold onto that thing and thump it with your hind legs.  It can be quite a match, but I usually win.IMG_1404You do have to be careful when you live with a human, though.  There are so many things that make really bad noises.  Like this guy with green hair.  All I did was rub my back against its legs, and it just laid down and yelled at me.  That’s when catching wrinkles and wrestling with feet come in handy.  It keeps you strong so you can run quickly away from angry things.IMG_1388Something I try to do every day is to make sure everything is as it should be.  I try to get up as high as I can to make sure no funny business is going on.  Thankfully, my human doesn’t change things up much so most days everything is just fine.  I still like to be on the lookout, though.  IMG_1389Last but not least, even though my human ignores me sometimes, I try to get in some snuggle time every day.  In the end, I really like my human.  It scratches my head and makes sure I have food in my bowl.  In fact, I kind of have my human trained.  All I have to do is meow and start walking towards my food bowl, and it follows me and puts food in it.  Now that’s a good human and one worth cuddling with!IMG_1410Now, I know that had to be way more interesting than reading about running.  You can leave a comment here if you like what I have to say and maybe my human will actually let me write more often instead of just making me take over when it’s too tired to care.

My Latest Running Gadget

I started running in October 2013 by simply running.  I got a pair of running shoes and hit the road.  I didn’t know about running gear, moisture wicking clothes, Body Glide, headbands…all things that I find essential to a good run now.  Funny how that works, right?  But after being blinded by sweat in the eyes and cotton T-shirts vacuum stuck to the torso after a hot run, I learned that there are products out there to make running so much more comfortable.

So over the years I’ve developed a preference for certain types of running clothing, shoes, socks, headbands, phone holders, running belts, and water bottles.  But one thing that I was still searching for was wireless earbuds.

As my runs and races got longer the flapping wire of my earbuds plugged into my phone really got on my nerves.  I’d get tangled in the wire and yank a bud out of my ear or the wire would catch on something and just tug at the bud.  And the set of earbuds that I was using would slide out of my ears when the sweat started pouring.  I was constantly readjusting my earbuds.  I love listening to music when I run, but my earbud issues made the whole listening to music thing a little less enjoyable.  Am I the only one that’s ever had these issues?

So one of my goals as I was preparing for my last marathon was to find a remedy to this problem.  I asked my running buddies about wireless earbuds.  Had they used them?  What kind did they use?  What did they like or not like about them?  And I read reviews of various brands of wireless earbuds on Amazon.  I actually find that a very helpful way to decide if a purchase would be a wise one for me.  I generally find that if a product has been reviewed many times, if there’s an issue, it will come up consistently in the reviews.

That was certainly true for wireless earbuds.  I had narrowed down my img_1383list to somewhere around 3 or 4 based on price and an internet search and comparison.  But after reading the reviews, I decided to go with JBL Bluetooth Wireless Headphones…and I couldn’t be happier!  They made my last marathon even better!

This is what I like about my JBLs:

  1.  They are very light weight.  Sometimes I forget that I have them in.
  2.  The sound quality is great.  My music comes though clear as a bell.
  3.  The earbuds are comfortable.  My old buds made my ears hurt after a long run.  That’s never been a problem with my JBLs, even after a marathon.
  4.  They stay put.  The earbuds come with “wings” that hold the earbuds in place.  I’ve worn these earphones in super windy weather, through img_1387miserably hot runs where I produced enough sweat to water my lawn, and through a marathon, and I never had to readjust them even once.
  5.  They keep a charge.  I can run for a week with only one charge of my earphones.  I think I remember reading that these earphones hold a charge for about 8 hours.
  6. They were not super expensive.  I was looking for a quality product that wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg.  These were in the mid-range at about $100 and have been worth every penny to me.
  7. They don’t block out all the sound.  This may be a negative to some people, but as a city runner where I need to constantly be aware of traffic and my surroundings, I like that I can have both earbuds in and still hear a car coming behind me (true, I keep my music low enough to allow the other noises to come through purposefully).  And when I’m running with a group, I can still participate in the conversation.  It’s the best of both worlds for me.

Is there anything I don’t like about my JBLs, you ask?  Not really!  The only kind of negative thing to me is that the earphones stick out from my ears a good bit.  That’s such a minor thing, though, that with all the img_1381positives I pop them in and quite literally forget about them.  The protrusion from my ears only bothers me if I look at myself in the mirror and that’s the last thing I’m doing during a run!  And as  you can tell by this photo, I’m not terribly concerned about looks during a run!

I also don’t know about range.  I only use them when I’m running, and since I always have my phone on me when I’m running, range has never been a problem.

So if you’re looking for wireless headphones, I give these a hearty thumbs up!  I love running with them.  And no, nobody’s paying me for my opinion :).

Talk to me:

Do you like to run or exercise with music?

How do you listen to music when you’re on the move?

When Your Sister’s a Grandmother

I generally don’t mind telling people my age, at least I didn’t until I turned 40.  I didn’t like turning 40.  I mean, I remember my mom turning 40 and being embarrassed to tell anyone her age because 40 was next to ancient and of course, none of my friends would have parents anywhere near as old as my 40 year old mom, right?  But I did okay pretending I wasn’t 40 until I went for my wellness check (you know, that one that you’re supposed to get every year) and walked out with a referral for a mammogram.  Wow.  Just like that my age reached up and smacked me in the face.  No denying it now; I really must be 40.

But I gradually adjusted to being 40, and then my sister invited me to her stepdaughter’s baby shower.  I nearly choked.  My sister was about to become a grandmother!  A grandma, a nana, a granny.  And she’s two years younger than me!  Isn’t a granny supposed to be an old woman?  Smack.  My age reached up and smacked me again because if my younger sister was taking on the title of grandmother, that must mean I’m really getting old.

The baby shower was cute.  My baby sister, cake decorator extraordinaire, created the cutest caterpillar cake01036c3597a98bf4491fd9b1b1bfc687f8e401e2a2 for the Very Hungry Caterpillar (you know, that cute children’s book?) party theme.  And then my niece had her baby, and poof, my sister is a grandmother.01b6aff84eed08000b36b45f4ea16c92ab142fa948

 

So I’m seeing adorable pictures and videos of this little baby on Facebook, thinking to myself how cute my sister’s granddaughter is.  But then I find my thoughts taking a dark turn.

Aging, I’m sure, is probably scary for most people.  I try not to dwell on the what ifs of life because why worry about things that may never happen?  Still, I find myself thinking about the what ifs anyway.  Maybe it’s because I’m single?  I find myself thinking about my mom and grandma who both had dementia and died in their early 60s.  They each had children to take care of them when they couldn’t care for themselves.  But I don’t have children or even a spouse.  My stomach knots in fear when I think about that.  I think about being unable to work.  How would I take care of myself?  I have no one else in my life to depend on.  I envision myself in a seedy cheap nursing home that no one ever visits.  See what I mean when I say my thoughts take a dark turn?

So I’ve been thinking about finding a healthy perspective in being single and well into my 40’s now.  I refuse to live in fear of things that may never happen, but how do I keep from doing that?

  1.  I live by faith.  My faith is important to me.  And as I’ve thought about aging and being single and alone in my older, vulnerable years, I’ve come to the realization that if I truly believe that God loves me, then I have to believe He will take care of me.  Period.  I don’t have to figure out how He’ll do it, I just need to have the faith that He will.
  2. I do what I can to prevent chronic illness.  I don’t think that living by faith and taking care of myself are mutually exclusive.  I think I also have a responsibility to live wisely.  To that end, I do things like run, lift weights, and eat a healthy diet to lower my risk of developing heart disease and diabetes.  And I try to keep my mind active by reading and learning new things to lower my risk of dementia.
  3. I save for the future.  I have to admit.  Sometimes I just want to hoard all the money I make so that I can pay for my care when I can no longer care for myself.  But that kind of fear and attitude limits generosity, and I don’t want to rob myself of the blessing of giving.  So I save a portion of each paycheck and contribute routinely to my retirement fund, but I also try to give to causes that are important to me.
  4. I redefine what my age means.  What I mean is that we tend to lump people sometimes into categories based on age and say what someone of this age should or shouldn’t do.  And of course, there are developmental milestones that are common to people in similar age categories and there are well researched guidelines about illness and aging, but I refuse to let my age dictate what I can and cannot do.  At 40, I lost 63 pounds.  I became a marathoner at 43 and a two time marathoner at 44.  I can deadlift and back squat more than my body weight which I’ve never been able to do in my life.  I’m learning a new subject matter with kids who weren’t even alive when I graduated college.  Bottom line, at 44 I’m healthier in mind, body, and spirit than I was at 21.  Boom!

So my sister’s a grandmother.  I’m happy for her.  Ecstatic for her, actually!  Her granddaughter is adorable!  And my sister is one hot 01b081889bf5e374d83d7c8bf45097f6d22a8ef07dgrandma!  But I’m also happy for me, single at 44, headed straight for 50 in a full on sprint.  As long as I have breath in my lungs, I intend to explore life and all that it offers within my physical ability.  I have no intention of sitting back and letting age and marital status stop me before I try, whatever the outcome.  What I’ve realized is that you’re never too old to make healthy choices and to find the adventure in life.  Hey, God doesn’t put an age requirement or limit on people He can use, so why should I let age limit me?

Talk to me:

What did you call your grandmother?  What do your grandchildren call you?

What’s something you think you’re too old to do? 

Being Single at Christmas

The holiday season is kind of a hard time to be single.  For a lot of us single folks, the holidays are filled with the pain of lost families and traditions because of divorce.  For some of us, it’s filled with the pain of unfulfilled longing, of wanting and waiting to establish our own families and traditions.

If I’m not careful, I find myself falling into a well of apathy this time of year.  Sure, I have friends and family who invite me to spend Christmas with them, but I always feel like a fifth-wheel.  Not because of anything they say or do, but because of this persistent feeling of being “less-than” because of my singleness that seems to rear its head at the most inopportune times.

And being a hospital based nurse, I spend a lot of Christmas holidays at work, as I will this year.  Having to work on Christmas intensifies this urge to be apathetic about the holiday.  I mean, why get excited about a day that will be just like any other day of the year, right?

But that’s the error in my thinking, right there.  Christmas is not about a day; it’s about a person.  It’s about the birth of Jesus, about God incarnate, about the ultimate gift of sacrifice, about our salvation.  And whether I’m at work or gathered around a Christmas tree with family, that fact doesn’t change.

So over the years, fighting this singleness induced temptation to apathy, I’ve discovered a unique gift in being single at Christmas.  I see people scurrying about, stressing out about getting presents for everyone on their list, going into debt to get just the right gift, spending hours cooking and baking, working frantically to make Christmas day perfect.  Me?  Because there’s no one I’m “obligated” to buy gifts for and there are no expectations on me to prepare a traditional Christmas celebration, 007I get to sit back and just enjoy the holiday, taking in all the good things this time of year offers.  I just get to soak in the Christmas music, revel in the Christmas lights, stare at my nativity scene and think about what Mary and Joseph  must have gone through.

Being single has taught me to truly celebrate Christmas.  I’ve learned that celebrating is not about the food, the decorations, the gifts.  It’s a heart thing.  It’s giving glory to God for his selfless act of giving.  It’s being thankful that Jesus was born to be our savior.  Sure, I love the parties and gift giving and all the traditions, but whether I’m alone or with people, true celebration is in my heart.

So I’m thankful for the gift singleness this year.  I’m thankful that I get to take care of people on Christmas day instead of being the one needing to be taken care of.  I’m thankful that I have ears to hear the Christmas music, eyes to see the sparkling lights, and a heart to love Jesus with.  I’m thankful that celebration can happen whether I’m in the midst of a 12 hour shift, alone in my house, or surrounded with friends or family.

From my heart to yours, have a very happy, blessed holiday season!

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Rudolph Run and the Magical Reappearance of My Earbuds

So this is a story of  my Saturday, ending with a real life mystery.  Theories on what happened are welcome.

This past Saturday, because I still can’t run, I volunteered to pass out medals to all the finishers of the Rudolph Run 5K.  I’m usually running the race, so being on the other side of the race was an interesting experience.  And a COLD one!  Holy cow!  A blast of arctic air decided to visit our state.  It was something like 30 degrees F with drizzle falling from the sky.  I had on leggings under my jeans, 2 shirts, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of gloves, a knit cap and my fleecy coat.  Still, when the last finisher crossed the finish line about 1.5 hours after the start of the race, my toes were blocks of ice.  Seriously.  It took 30 minutes with my feet under a blanket and a heating pad when I got home to get all the feeling back in my toes.

It was a miserable experience, but it was a lot of fun too.  Runners are a creative bunch.  Some of them really get in the spirit of the run and come up with all kinds of cool costumes.  There were lots of hats with reindeer antlers running around.  One guy ran in Santa decorated pajamas.  Yep. 017182ca25c3450ba363204b60f179c40242b4113e Flannel shirt and pants with little Santas all over them.  Then, there was the guy who ran in a blow up Santa suit.  How could he move, let alone run?!  And of course, Santa himself was there, cheering on the runners.  Here’s what the race looked like from my vantage point on the sidelines.

016252e6bf4391b3ebffae7be4bd7ec562f83bcca6And getting to hand out medals to first time 5K finishers was so fun.  There were so many kids, like under 10 years old, who ran the Rudolph Run as their first 5K.  I loved being able to high-five them, congratulate them, and hand them their medal.  And then there were my friends.  There was my friend who blazed through that 5K in record time.  And I got to give him his medal!  And my marathon training buddy who ran the race with his cutie pie of a daughter.  I loved seeing them and being able to give them their medals too.  And seeing the overall winner of the race all the way to the very last finisher…pretty neat.

And then I got home and am still perplexed by what happened next.

Almost a year ago, I came home from a run and laid my earbuds on my dresser while I changed clothes.  It was one of those single earbuds made especially for runners.  Anywho, when I went to put them away, they were gone.  I couldn’t find them anywhere.  I looked behind the dresser, under the bed, in drawers…couldn’t find them anywhere.  It was like they had disappeared into thin air.  And with it just being me and my cat in the house, having them moved from the dresser was unlikely, although my assumption was that Sunny probably knocked them off the dresser to play with them.  He can’t resist anything that resembles a string.  But I eventually quit looking for them, thinking they’d turn up one of these days.  When months went by and they still didn’t show up, I just chalked it up to them being long gone.  But the mystery of what happened to them drove me nuts.

Saturday, I was sitting on the couch, trying to thaw my feet under the heating pad, watching my cat jump and pounce on something in the corner of the loveseat.  He’d stick his paw under the pillow like he was trying to catch something.  “What’s he playing with?” I wondered.  All of his toys were in the basket.  I decided it was probably a loose string on the pillow, but the more he pounced on whatever it was and tried to catch it, the more curious I got.

I got my frozen toes out from under the heating pad and hobbled over to take a look at Sunny’s entertainment.  And there in the corner of the loveseat…THE MISSING EARBUDS!  01b226147dc9a0bf51c04f79b1b15dc3e93088ef6bWhat the heck?!  Do you know how many people have sat on that loveseat over the last year, how many times I’ve moved that pillow?  Where in the world…?  Where those earbuds have been for the last year is just about to drive me crazy!  I want to know where they were and how they happened to reappear in the corner of the loveseat.  If only my cat could talk…

Talk to me:

What do you think happened to my earbuds?

What’s your favorite way to warm up after being outside in the cold?