Recovery…I Hope

So if you’ve been around for any length of time, you know I’ve been dealing with a nagging, recurring pain in my right hip flexor.  It really flared up when I began training for my first marathon last year, but about 2 months ago, things got worse.  The pain became constant, and even sitting and walking were uncomfortable.  Yep, I haven’t run in 2 months.  It’s been a long 2 months.

This last week I finally bit the bullet and went to see an orthopedist.  You can see how excited I was to be at the doctor’s office.  He looked at my MRI and x-rays, moved my hip in all different directions, pushed on me here and there, and finally concluded that it is most likely NOT a labral tear (whew!) and most likely just an inflamed hip flexor.

Then the doctor did something really painful.  He banned me from all exercise except the stationary bike and seated upper body exercises.  I remember when I started the clean eating challenge,  I looked at the list of food restrictions and wondered what in the world I was going to eat.  I’m looking at these activity restrictions with that same wonder.  How am I ever going to keep in shape with such limited activity?

And this is race season.  In 2 weeks, the 40th Tulsa Run will take place.  It’s a huge race, a 15K, and I love running it.  I was really, really hoping to run it this year, but no.  Not gonna happen.  And the half marathon I’d been training for, Route 66 in November, is not gonna happen either.  I am so disappointed.

But on the other hand, I’ve been dealing with this issue for a long time.  For about 2 years now, I’ve limped along seeing a chiropractor every couple of months to deal with the pain.  If another month of very limited activity, and a round of steroids and anti-inflammatories get me back on my feet pain-free, I guess I can stand missing a few races.  And I’m hoping, like with the clean eating challenge, I’ll find a whole new way of exercising and keeping in shape with limited lower body involvement.

But to be honest, the thing that’s really hard for me about not being able to exercise at my normal capacity is the fear of gaining weight.  I am petrified of that happening.  I have this vision of myself ballooning, and I nearly panic.  I do NOT want to ever be overweight again.

I think back to the first time this hip flexor issue put me on the side lines for a few weeks during marathon training.  I used the opportunity to focus on other aspects of training.  I’m trying really hard to keep that perspective again, focusing especially on nutrition this time around.  With my activity being limited, nutrition will be key for me in maintaining my weight, especially looking at carbohydrate intake.  I’ll need fewer carbs since I’m exercising less, but unfortunately, I love carbs.  (Yes, I’m pouting.)

So I’ll behave, take my medicine and follow the doctor’s orders.  Hopefully, when I go back to the doctor in 4 weeks, I’ll be good as new.  Stay tuned for updates on recovery, my workouts, and what I’m eating.

Talk to me:

What fall plans do you have coming up?

 

 

Home

Ten years ago this week I began one of the biggest adventures of my life.  I became a home owner, as a single girl.

I don’t mind telling you that buying a house was a scary process.  Or maybe it was deciding to buy a house that was the scary part.  I was just as single then as I am now, and doubts of my ability to take care of a house bombarded me.  Would I be able to afford the mortgage?  And the utility bills?  I wasn’t even sure how much heating and cooling a house would cost.  What if something broke?  Like something really big.  But then, who am I kidding?  I’m not at all handy so even a seemingly minor issue seems big to me.  And then it’s not just the house; there’s the yard that has to be maintained.

So in my usual decision-making process I researched the heck out of buying a house.  I learned about the house buying process, about narrowing down where I wanted to live and what I was looking for in a house.  I got pre-approval from a lender to know how much house I could afford–according to the bank.  Then, it was deciding how much of my savings I wanted to invest towards a house and how much of my income I was willing to put towards a mortgage.  Lots of money stuff to think about.

But in the back of my mind, the fact of my singleness kept raising little doubts.  If I couldn’t pay the mortgage and upkeep for a house, I’d be out on my ear.  This was a HUGE purchase, and I was going into it…alone.  Scary!

But 10 years later, I’m so glad I made the leap.  I’ve been thinking back over the last decade and of all the things that have happened in this house, or because I own a house.  Things like:

Holiday and other family gatherings…Bible study groups and forging friendships…

Taking care of Mom…

Bringing Sunny home as a kitten…Learning how to use a lawnmower

Being broken into–through the kitchen ceiling…Placing foundation piers…

Always having a project to work on (I won’t tell you how long these crack repair patches have been there)…

Learning how to do some highly technical things like replacing a shower head…

Good memories.  And it’s funny.  Even when something really big happened–like when walls started separating and I learned I would need foundation piers to fix the problem–I survived.  Somehow it wasn’t the catastrophe that I imagined.

So I don’t really have a purpose in writing this post today other than to remember those that have no home and to be thankful for the abundant blessings I’ve been given.  My house still has old formica counter tops in the kitchen, windows with weather stripping flapping in the breeze, and carpet with a few spots here and there, but my house is home.

And lawnmowers and overgrown bushes aside, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be than right where I am. 

 

 

 

 

 

Talk to me:

Where do you live?

If you could live anywhere you wanted, where would it be?

Save

Unplugged and Recharged

I’m not a super girly girl.  I don’t care a lot about fashion, make-up, shopping–things that a lot of girls like.  Not that I don’t like those things (well, I really don’t like shopping), but I just don’t care a lot about them.  I mean, just take a look at the photos I post of myself!

But over the years and a couple of trips to Africa later, I’ve discovered that I do like my creature comforts.  I like warm showers, soft beds, and blow drying my hair.  I don’t like being dirty for longer than whatever activity got me dirty.

So when my CrossFit gym decided to take a camping trip, my first thought was of a whole day with no shower and sleeping on the hard ground.  But the adventure of exploring a new piece of my part of the world won me over quickly, and I couldn’t wait to go.

So last weekend I headed to Devil’s Den State Park in northwest Arkansas for a weekend of roughing it.  I was hoping that spilling ice all over the floor before I even made it out the door was not a sign of how the weekend would go.

Thankfully, it wasn’t, and I had a wonderful time.  Devil’s Den is beautiful!  We hiked up and down mountains, scrambling over tree limbs and up rocks.  I got hot and sweaty and dirty, but I loved every moment of it.

 

 

 

 

 

                  Taking my bike for a spin turned my legs to Jell-o with all the hills, but I wouldn’t have missed out on riding along a trail like this for anything!

And then soaking our tootsies in the lake, grilling chicken for dinner, watching the campfire…for the first time in weeks, I felt the stress of work and everyday life melt away.

 

The crazy thing is when I look back over the weekend, I don’t think about the streaks of dirt on my unshowered body or the miserably hard ground–the discomforts I typically associate with camping.  What I think about is how relaxing just getting away from it all was.  With no cell service in the park, there were no phone calls or texts to answer, no need to check email, no ability to scroll down Facebook lane.  There was only friends and nature.

So I came home tired but feeling recharged from a weekend of being totally unplugged.  I might have to make camping a regular activity! (Did I really just say that?!)

Talk to me:

How do you recharge?

What’s your favorite outdoor spot to visit?

Camping or no camping?

 

To Sticker or Not to Sticker?

Following the Route 66 marathon, my second, last November, this happened:IMG_1576Yes, I became one of those obnoxious people with a 26.2 sticker on the car window.

I was going into work a few nights ago.  I have to cross an air bridge from the parking garage to the hospital, and parts of it are frigid.  Seriously, the air blasting out of the vents is like Jack Frost breathing on you.  (Remember, that Santa Clause movie where Jack Frost freezes everyone with his breath?)  So I walk fast, partly because I’m freezing my tushy off but also because I just naturally walk kind of fast.

Anywho, I came upon another nurse going to work.  He made the remark, “I’m going to get out of your way.  I saw you get out of that car with 26.2 on it!”

I just laughed, and said, “That doesn’t mean I can run fast!”

But that brief exchange has stuck with me and has made me think a lot about why I put a 26.2 sticker on my car.  Is it making other people feel I’m superior to them?  Does it seem like I’m bragging?  Am I sending a message that I belong to some exclusive club?

That certainly was not my intention, but I began to feel rather self-conscious about the sticker on my car.

But it got me thinking about why marathoners put stickers on their cars, and I have to say I think it’s the same reason people put any kind of sticker on their cars.  I’ve seen cars pulling into the garage ahead of me with some “RN” or nursing related themed bumper sticker.  I see the stickers of families, where there’s a sticker for Mom, Dad, big brother, little sister, and the dog.  I see political stickers from both Republican and Democratic supporters.  I see stickers about Jesus, guns, a child who made the honor roll, and some with no real cause except to make you chuckle.

But the one thing all those stickers have in common is that they represent what’s important to those who drive the car.  They let us know who you are.  I think bumper stickers are a way of connecting with our fellow humans.  They tell stories of accomplishments and hint at beliefs and passions.

So I’m not going to feel bad about a 26.2 sticker on my car.  Running is an important part of my life, and running a marathon is a big achievement, something I’m proud of, and something that changed me.  It’s a part of who I am now, and that’s what my 26.2 sticker means to me.

Besides I don’t think that thing would come off if I wanted it to!

Talk to me:

What bumper stickers are on your car?

What’s the best bumper sticker you’ve ever seen?

Save

Save

What’s Next?

It’s a question I’ve been getting a lot lately as I’ve finished up the fitness and health trainer course I enrolled in last fall.  The answer to the question scares me a bit.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, though, which is part of the reason I’ve been neglecting the blog a bit.

If you follow me on Facebook at all, you know that this happened last week:IMG_1583I passed the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer exam!  That allows me to call myself a certified personal trainer.  Yikes!  Somehow the title implies some level of expertise, but I feel like I still have so much to learn.

But back to the question.  What’s next?

I’ve shied away from talking a lot about what I hope to do as a certified personal trainer, but the course is done.  I’ve passed my certification exam.  Now is the time.  Am I going to do something with it?  Am I going to allow the vision that propelled me in this direction to begin with come to fruition?  Or am I going to shrink in fear that I might fall flat on my face?

So I’m just going to bite the bullet, put all my dreams out there, and see what happens.  If I fall flat on my face, well…I fall flat on my face.  At least I will have tried.

Losing 63 pounds and finding so much life in being fit and healthy ignited a passion in me.  There aren’t many things I can say I’m truly passionate about, but health and fitness are true passions.  I could read and talk about it day and night and never get bored with it.  But in my job as a nurse, I encounter people every. single. day. who are my age or younger losing body parts because of diabetes, taking medication for high blood pressure, having trouble breathing, and all largely related to obesity.  It gnaws at me.  And it frustrates me to feel like the most I can do at this point is help them manage their diseases.

I don’t want to just treat diabetes and high blood pressure.  I want to prevent it.  My own journey to health and losing aches and pains I thought I’d be saddled with for the rest of my life was an eye opener, and I began to think, “What if I could help people lose weight before disease sets in?”

And this vision of becoming a personal trainer was born.

I remember how uncomfortable I used to be going to the gym, stuffed into my workout clothes, feeling like everyone, especially that super toned guy with the bulging biceps, was noticing my every fat roll.  And I’ve talked to enough women to know that many experience similar feelings.

So what I hope to do with my CPT certification is mobile training, going to those who are at risk for developing chronic disease because of their weight, working with them in an environment where they feel comfortable, and walking them down the road to health.

But making that a reality involves thinking through a lot of details and logistics.  I have no idea how to set up a business, and I’m sure issues will come up that I’ve never even thought of.  But what a grand adventure!

I’m excited for the next step.  Scared spitless, but excited!  So follow along with me as I figure out this whole certified personal trainer gig and how to start and run a mobile training business (Geez Louise, I guess saying it means I really have to do it, uh?!).

Talk to me:

Have/would you ever work(ed) with a personal trainer?

If you could be anything you wanted to be, what would that be?

 

 

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?

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?

 

 

What I Learned from Inflatables

This weekend I did the Insane Inflatable 5K with my nephew who just turned 12.  It’s not a race.  It’s not timed, but finishers get a medal and a T-shirt.  It’s basically a 3 mile course with 10-11 inflatable obstacles participants climb up, slide down, or run through in some way.  It’s a great family event.  There were people from little girls to silver-haired ladies, athletic looking guys to not so athletic looking people participating.

I have to admit, I felt a bit nervous as our wave was about to start.  I mean, inflatables or not, some of those obstacles were pretty tall for a girl who’s not crazy about heights.  The starting obstacle was a climb to this big slide onto the course.  Trust me.  It was higher than it looks!

Insane Inflatable 5K, 6-18-16 002We walked from obstacle to obstacle since it was super hot already, and it wasn’t a race.  We talked about everything from the shape of Epcot Center to telling riddles.  Caleb had some good ones:

“If a butcher is 5’8″ tall and wears a size 14 shoe,  what does he weigh?”

(I’ll keep you in suspense.  Leave a comment if you think you know the answer!) 

I had a lot of fun just spending some time with my nephew.  He totally blew through those obstacles.  I’d come through to find him standing there just waiting for me.  He told me he thought about going ahead, but then he realized I’d just run and catch up to him so he decided to wait!

But besides loving hanging out with my nephew, I learned a few things while I was playing on inflatables.

  1.  Trying new things is fun!  This was an EASY obstacle course.  Anyone of any fitness level could do it.  The obstacles weren’t really challenging in terms of fitness level, but climbing, sliding, dodging, ducking under and going over things was new to me.  The height of some of the obstacles was a bit intimidating to me, but the inflatables had high sides so I couldn’t see how high up I was which helped squash my fear.  The finish line obstacle was the highest at something like 74 feet.  That’s me in the orange shorts.  Insane Inflatable 5K, 6-18-16 023But when I got to the bottom of this massive slide, I realized how much fun I had! I especially liked the climbing parts.  Hmmmm, maybe I should think about doing a real obstacle course.
  2. I CAN conquer fear!  Well, at least minor fears.  Looking at the height of the slides made me quake just a bit, but when I got to the top, I didn’t really feel scared at all.  What did make my heart race just a bit was an obstacle that required us to climb up a ramp, through some crisscrossing posts and onto a platform.  To complete the obstacle, we jumped from the platform onto a series of balls.  To me, the platform seemed kind of high and then there was this gap between the platform and the ball…Insane Inflatable 5K, 6-18-16 020I’ll admit it.  My heart was beating a bit faster.  Yes, that’s how much of a fraidy cat I am, BUT I took the leap without too much of a pep talk, landed not at all gracefully on the ball, but made it without falling to the end of the obstacle…where Caleb was waiting for and laughing at me!  But I’ll take these tiny victories against fear.
  3. I need to work on balance and agility.  Keeping my balance was probably the toughest part of the obstacles.  The air in the inflatable created a very unsteady surface, so just staying upright was a bit tricky at times.  While recovering from a sprained ankle a while back, I did an exercise that was  great for both balance and strengthening my ankle.  I stood on one leg on a pillow for 30 seconds, alternating legs.  I need to add that in to my exercise regimen a little more regularly.  For agility, one suggestion I read about was to map out letters like A, B, C and run the shape of those letters.  So my neighbors might think I’m nuts running in all directions in the backyard, but that’s okay if it increases my quickness.

Would you do an obstacle course?

What’s your favorite riddle?

Save

Dare Bucket List

Hi!  My name’s Juanita, and I’m afraid of deep water.  Yes, it’s true.  I have this thing about water that’s deeper than I am tall, which is not very deep considering I’m only 5’2″ tall.  I’m not a great swimmer, but I can swim if I know when I put my feet down I can touch the bottom.  When I can’t touch the bottom, I panic and sink like a rock (hanging head in embarrassment).  I’m not scared to go under water, but I can’t get over this fear of deep water.

Hoping to become a better swimmer, I actually took swimming lessons last summer.  After 2 sessions of lessons, I still had to be coaxed off the wall in the deep end of the pool, even while I’m hanging on for dear life to a noodle around my middle with one hand and keeping a death grip on the instructor’s hand with the other.  It was pitiful, folks, and I have no idea how I’m going to get over the fear.  Some fears I don’t mind not getting over, like my paralyzing fear of snakes.  I have no desire to get comfortable with those creepy crawlies.  Shiver.  And if I see one anywhere around my house, I’d probably put my house up for sale that very day.  But my fear of deep water nags at me, and I really, really want to be comfortable in the water.

So I went to the beach with my friends recently with this fear of deep water.  And I promised them that one day before we left I would actually get in the ocean.  This is how I preferred to spend my time at the beach:

St. Pete beach, 5-2016 001But a promise is a promise, so I got in the water.

St. Pete beach, 5-2016 004St. Pete beach, 5-2016 010I finally made it out into water that was chest deep and took a beating from the waves, but I went into the ocean.  If my friends could have persuaded me to go out a bit deeper, the waves wouldn’t have broken right on top of me, pushing me towards the beach, but I couldn’t get past my fear.  Sigh.

Then, there was this discussion of parasailing.  Enter my second nagging fear, the fear of heights.  I don’t like being up high.  Airplanes are fine, but I nearly froze driving up Mount Evans in Colorado when I got above the tree line and saw how high up I was, and there was no guard rail.  And then there was that time I was going to try zip lining.  I climbed up this wooden tower and out onto this ridiculously narrow platform that seemed to be miles above the ground and got hooked into the harness.  I’m shaking from head to toe when the panic hits, and I’m nearly hysterical, telling the zip line attendant to, “GET ME DOWN!  GET ME DOWN!”  You can laugh if you want, but I was in full panic mode looking at how high up I was.  So I hung my head in shame, and climbed down the tower on legs of jello and watched my friends have the funnest 20 seconds of their life flying across the tree tops.

So parasailing.  It would combine two of my biggest fears, deep water and heights, but yet, it looks so fun.  The question my friends were asking me was will you do it?  But the wind saved me.  The day we were going to go parasailing was too windy, and parasailing companies were not operating.  Secretly, I breathed a sigh of relief!

So I’m thinking of all these things when we meet our friend John and his now wife, Kristy, for breakfast before their wedding.  Somehow the subject of parasailing and my fears comes up, and Kristy says something I can’t forget.  She tells me that the fear is just my brain telling me the activity isn’t safe.  So I have to tell my brain that it IS safe, and just go for it.  Hmmmm…

And then she challenged me to set a dare bucket list.  So I’ve been thinking about that because despite being afraid of deep water and heights, some things that involve both of those look like a lot of fun.  Over the years, I’ve discovered I’ve missed out on a lot of fun because of fear, and I refuse to let fear control my life anymore.  So here is my dare bucket list (does putting this is writing mean I really have to do these things?  Gulp.):

  1. Zip lining
  2. Parasailing
  3. Swim in deep water
  4. Cross the bridge at the Royal Gorge

Maybe I’ll add to the list as time goes on, but these are the things that I’ve wanted to do but am held back by fear.  I’m sweating just looking at the list.  I hope I can find my courage, convince my brain that these activities ARE safe, and just go for it!

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?

What’s something you want to do but are scared to try?

Remembering Mom

It’s easy for me to get bogged down in feelings of inferiority on Mother’s Day.  When the ideals of marriage and motherhood are held up as the standard of womanhood, it’s easy to feel a lesser woman on that day, being single and childless.  It’s an awkward day for a single gal.  I mean, what do you say when someone says, “Happy Mother’s Day!”  to you.  Ummm, thanks, I guess.  Somehow I don’t think having a fur baby really counts as being a mother.

030But one thing I’m working hard to do here On the Other Side is to find a healthy perspective in every situation, awkward or otherwise.  So instead of wallowing in inferiority on another Mother’s Day, I choose to celebrate the woman my Mom was and to embrace the challenge to be the woman she raised me to be.

My mom died on May 2, 2009, just a few days before Mother’s Day.  That makes the day a bit hard for me as well.  Death.  It’s the stinky part of life, right?  But to see Mom suffering from Parkinson’s disease and dementia was infinitely harder than letting her go, knowing death for her was ultimate healing.  I know one day I’ll see her again.

I don’t know how I could ever begin to list all the things my mom taught me, but there are a few things she did so well that I am still working to perfect in my own life.

  1.  Make the simple special.  My mom was a master at making something so simple feel really special.  After a long day of running errands, Mom would pick up a loaf of raisin bread, a package of bologna, and a box of Bugles.  Then we’d head to the park for a short picnic or sometimes have a “car picnic”.  It was such a simple lunch (believe me, it tasted much better than it sounds!), but it was such a treat.  Same with peanut M&M’s.  Mom would buy a bag on sale, stash it away, and on a random evening, she’d pull out the bag of chocolate and dole out 10 M&M’s to each of us.  I could make that chocolate last for hours!  I hope that things I enjoy never become commonplace.
  2. Find pleasure in the little things.  Mom got such enjoyment from things I take for granted.  We could be driving along, and she would make such a fuss over the beautiful flowers along the road–flowers that I didn’t even see.  She’d watch birds and squirrels playing and laugh at their antics.  Or the next door neighbor’s little dog.  She got a kick out of watching that little dog run and play in the grass.  I hope I can take a lesson from Mom and see the small, beautiful details in my everyday life.
  3. Take pleasure in giving.  My mom loved giving to other people.  Even when Parkinson’s and dementia robbed her of her ability to read, write, and make crafts, she would get so excited when I would help her make a card to send to someone.  I hope I can always be excited to give to others.
  4. Treasure scripture.  Some of my earliest memories of Mom are of seeing her sitting on the edge of the bed, open Bible beside her.  Mom’s Bible was tattered and underlined in all different colors, sure signs that she spent much time with it.  After Mom got sick, I would read scripture to her.  She especially loved the book of Isaiah.  She would sit beside me on the couch, and I would read chapter after chapter from Isaiah.  Once I thought she had fallen asleep.  She was sitting so quietly with her eyes closed.  I stopped reading, and Mom’s eyes opened.  She wasn’t sleeping at all; she was just reveling in the word of God.  If I could just learn to treasure God’s word as much as she did…

So on this MMom 001other’s Day, I remember my mom, Susie.  I still have so much to learn from you.  Thanks for being my mom.