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Friday, December 14, 2012

Choose Life

I was sickened and saddened today as the news came out of Connecticut.  20 dead children.  20 babies, daughters and sons, future teachers, lawyers, Dr.'s,  football players, ballet dancers, band members, artists, Lego builders, hopscotch players.  Gone.  Just like that.  20 sets of parents who dropped their child off at school just like every other day.  20 kids looking forward to Christmas, to the arrival of Santa, to presents under the tree.  20 parents whose children will never open those gifts.  Devastation.  Horror.  Tragedy.
I was a substitute teacher for 2 years in elementary rooms.  My husband is a high school teacher.  We know the school environment.  We know the dedication of school staff.  We know the hearts of people who would, without question, put their lives on the line for those children. You prepare - but you can never be prepared.
There truly are no words.  It's not fair.  It's not right.  It isn't.  It doesn't make sense.  I - quite honestly - do not understand why God allowed this to happen.  Where was He when those little babies were oh so afraid?  There are no easy answers.
What I am going to say next will not be popular but it struck me today when I was grieving this horrible tragedy.
Choose life.
Can I ask you a question?
Why is this any different than the millions of babies killed by abortion?  Why - why is that okay?  Why?
My heart grieves.
20 kids today.  Gone.  Their lives taken from them by a senseless act.  Millions of babies - gone - from a senseless and selfish act.
Oh how must our father in heaven grieve.  Just as those parents tonight will grieve - He grieves.
Sickened.  Saddened.  Our world just isn't the same.  This isn't supposed to happen.
Choose Life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I am a lousy blogger!  Goodness, it's been too long!

And on that note - this will be a long one folks so fasten your seat belt and thanks for going along for the ride :)

2012.  What can we say about 2012?  This is a tad early - a month before Christmas - but I have the notion to write, so write I will.

It was a very long year.  Many good things and many difficult things.

I set some goals last New Years.  I believe there were 3.  I don't remember one out of the 3 - but I remember 2.  First was getting my weight down and second was improving my spiritual walk.

Let's start with the positive.

Around February I got really sick.  As in stuck in bed, could NOT breathe, asthma out of control.  I thought I had pneumonia but it turned out just to be a bad cold and a massively long (like a week) asthma attack.  Anyway, it put me in bed and out cold.  I couldn't bend over without feeling like I was going to pass let alone do anything productive.  During that week, I was depressed.  I KNEW a lot of it had to do with my weight.  I happened upon a documentary called "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" - and that, my friends, was pretty much how I felt.

2 weeks later I had bought myself a juicer and began my journey.  1 month later, I was down 30 pounds and began a couch to 5k program - on a broken toe and in a walking boot for 15 weeks.  (Let's just not talk about that experience - never kick a dishwasher in anger)

Now I am down 40.  It was down 50 but the last month of holiday-eating-like-crap-and-not-running-and-changing-my-thyroid-meds has resulted in a 10 pound gain - but we'll get to that in a moment.

I ran (as in no walking!) my first 5k on my 42nd birthday this year.  It was an awesome experience and I am so thankful to my hubby, my sister and my brother-in-law who never stopped believing in me.  I'll never forget the very first run (training run).  2 minutes!  2 minutes and I had a huge asthma attack, I went to the car and thought I'd never do it again.  That is a distant memory now.  For the first time in my life, when I crossed that finish line - I was proud of myself - of how far I've come.

Now I have to remember that feeling and get back on track - but at least now - now I know what I AM capable of.  And I know it's so much more than I give myself credit for.  But that's a resolution for next year.  Take off another 50 pounds, run a few more 5k's and start training for a 10k.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

This year was tough parenting wise.  Our kids went through some difficult times.  If your a Mom - you know when your kids suffer - so do you.  I'm not going to share their struggles here - that is up to them in their time and in their way - but suffice to say it was difficult for all of us.

I have struggled spiritually for the last year.  I have gone to places with God I have not been in a very long time.  I have questioned Him - questioned his goodness, questioned his presence, questioned my trust in him.  It has not been easy.  I don't know that I have received any answers - but I find one thing interesting along the way.  No matter what - no matter the depth I go or the anger I feel or the frustration and hurt in my life - I find myself turning to him.  In my anger, in my frustration, in my tears, in my hurt, in my pain - I yell, I scream, I cry - but I talk to my Father.  It has been hard and I still feel distant.  I feel my prayers hit the ceiling and I don't feel an every day presence kind of thing.  But I know that we will cross this bridge and I will be better for it.  That's part of the resolution for next year.  Find my place in God.  Figure out who I am in Him and what He wants me to do in this life.

We moved this past year!  Finally left Bedford and moved to Ann Arbor.  I have yet to have time to enjoy it as I also picked up a full time job.  That's another story for another post but I have been employed full time since July.  WOW is it CRAZY!  I have a WHOLE NEW appreciation for career women!  I've always thought you were all nuts (sorry) but now I struggle being one of you.  It's tough!  I have yet to find the balance - but I'm working on it.  I am happy to be in Ann Arbor even though I haven't found time to enjoy it.  We moved just outside the city and I love our new house.  Our landlord is AWESOME, the property is beautiful, the nature preserve right next door - wow - we are blessed.  We found renters for our old home (although they are struggling so please pray for them if you would).  Everything worked out so perfect - and I know that's a God thing.

The one thing we haven't found in A2 is a church.  It hit me today that we've been here since July - but still no church home.  We are gone on weekends - a lot.  If we are going to find one to call home, we need to stay put on the weekends.  I'll throw this in here - teenagers - don't always like to go to church.  That has been difficult so I ask that you would pray with me we could find one that our teenager falls in love with and wants to go to.  We need it.  I need it.  Boy, do I need it.

Well - I hate to end so abruptly (lol) - but I must go back to work.  Thanks for reading this far. I'll do my best - as always - to post more - but the truth of the matter is I have not a lot of time.  Maybe I'll post an update soon about my kiddos for those family and friends still here. 

Thanks for continuing to read a blog that is never updated.  Thanks for making it allllll the way to the end of this post! Thanks for allowing me to keep it real and loving me anyway.  I pray you all have a blessed CHRISTmas season this year.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Couch to 5k & Susan G Komen Race for the Cure


I DID IT!!  I ran my first 5k today!  Ran every step of the thing!

Just can't believe that  7 months ago, I was 50 pounds heavier, sick with pneumonia, on steroids to help me to breathe and totally, completely miserable.

Never - EVER - in my life - did I EVER think I would run a RACE!!  Shoot - I could hardly walk to the mailbox without needing my inhaler (exageration - but walking up and down stairs really bothered my asthma).

Tonight I sit on my computer typing out this post - a RUNNER BABY!!  WOO HOO!

It started with a broken foot.  I couldn't WALK let alone run.  I walked for 2 months, 3 days a week before I could even begin to run.  Then, the first time I did the "run" portion (2 minutes) (and let's translate that - in 15 seconds - 15 SECONDS - I was in tears, I was seeing spots, sucking on my inhaler and begging God to make it stop!) - I got in the car and went home.

Now?  Now I can run the full 3.1 miles!  Not fast by any stretch of the imagination (didn't come in last -but wasn't far from it!!) - but I didn/t walk a single step.

SO - the moral of THIS story?  YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!

Trust me - if I can - you can.  I promise.  Was it hard?  Yep.  Did it require a total change of lifestyle?  You bet it did.  Did others kick and scream about the time I spent jogging?  Yeah, they did at times.  Did it hurt?  Oh yeah - most of the time.  Did I want to quit?  Every other session.  I can't tell you how many times I said "I will NEVER be able to run a full 30 minutes straight!" But today - TODAY I ran 45 minutes straight.

If you know me, you know arrogant is not a word that describes me - but tonight - tonight I am proud.  Proud that I didn't give up all the times I wanted to.  Proud that I stuck with something.  Proud - that for once in my life - I didn't just TALK about it - but did it.  Proud that today I had a race number on my chest (and a tutu on my waist!), running shoes on my feet, my beautiful sister beside me, my hubby & brother in-law running the race with me and my friends and family there to support and cheer me on.  I DID IT!!!

It was so worth it.  I promise you - every tear, every doubt, every fear, every run in the rain, every run in the blazing heat this summer (and there were oh so many of those), every asthma attack, every sore ankle, every EVERYTHING was alllllll worth it in the end.

I'm hooked.  Addicted.  Sunk - lol!!  I've already comitted to my next race in one month and another one in November.  This week I start a new routine to get my speed up and some more weight off so that every race this season, I can cut my time.  Next summer I will continue to run 5k's - but I'm thinking tht maybe, just maybe, an 8k or 10k might be in my future.  WHY NOT?? 

Because now - now I know something I didn't know before.

If you set your mind to something - and you follow your dreams with action - well then you can do anything. 

Even at 42 years old.

Thanks sis for believing a year ago that even I could do this.  I love you :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

I am a runner

It's been too long - again.  Not sure if anyone is still left reading :(  I apologize to those of you who left me some beautiful and helpful comments that I just realized were awaiting my approval.  Thank you.  You are so sweet :)

Several months ago - back in March - I began to walk (literally) a journey.  I was overweight, I had a broken foot, I was unhappy and feeling quite hopeless.  It started with a documentary called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  That's how I felt.  I was fat, I got sick - maybe not nearly dead - but some days - it sure felt like it.  I was not in a good place and not headed in a good direction.

I began juicing.  Juiced for a month - lost a mess of weight.  Beyond that - I have always wanted to run a race.  Even when I was thin, I was never much of an athlete.  I wanted to be one, I dreamed of being one, I talked about being one, researched being one - but I never actually WAS one.  I did some boxing for a while and I did love that - but it didn't last long.

My sister - my inspiration - began running a year ago.  I promised her I would run a race with her last year - but never did.  So this year - I decided a couple of things.

Number one - I wasn't going to make another promise I didn't plan on keeping.  Number two - I wasn't going to talk anymore about running a race.  I was going to actually RUN one. 

It just  so happened the Susan B Koman race - the same race I promised my sister I would run a year ago and didn't - falls on my birthday this year.  So - way back in March - I started a program.  Couch to 5k.  I did a conservative one I found on the Internet.

I remember my first "run" well.  Too well.  The way the program works (the conservative approach anyway) is that you start by walking 30 minutes, three times a week for a month.  Then, you begin running - every week your run increases 2 minutes of running, lose 2 minutes of walking until you are running a full 30 minutes.   I didn't realize in the beginning that it didn't matter how you did the 2 minutes.  You didn't have to do the full 2 minutes at once - you could divide that into 30 second stints if you wanted.  So - that being said - I attempted to run the full 2 minutes my very first week.

Let's just say it didn't go to well.  I literally thought I would die.  D.I.E.  My asthma kicked in, I couldn't get it under control, I was dizzy, seeing spots - it was UGLY.  I did the 2 minutes and said forget the other 28 (walking) and I got in the car and left.

However - for the first time in my life - I didn't quit.  I can NOT believe I'm still at this thing.  I can't believe that after I got in the car that day - I determined it didn't matter how I felt, I was not finished.  I found out I could split that 2 minutes up and then the 4 minutes the next week and then the 8 minutes - and on.  Sometimes I ran 30 seconds and walked for 5 minutes before running another 30 seconds - but I continued to run.  I did not quit despite the extreme pain in my ankles, despite the continuous and scary asthma attacks, despite the feeling of not being able to take another step.  I didn't quit.  I DIDN'T QUIT.  It still amazes me.

Next Sunday - on my 42nd birthday - I will run my first 5k.  I'm praying I can actually run the entire thing.  The most I've ran straight so far is 2 miles.  But - I'm GOING to do it!  I'M GOING TO DO IT!!

I think hitting the finish line will be a very emotional experience for me.  I just can't believe I can now run 30 minutes straight.  I'm not fast (oh goodness - the best I've done so far is a 13 minute mile!), I'm not good, it's not pretty - but I am doing it.  My asthma is now under control.  I no longer suck air.  I'm still in pain - but not like I was at the beginning.  Although I'm really nervous about next Sunday - I'm - well - I'm proud of myself.  I'm proud that I have not given up, not quit, not walked away - not done what I've done for 42 years -- failed to believe I was capable of such a thing.  I have done it and this is only the beginning.

I want to encourage all of you.  I was that person reading these blogs, dreaming of the day I might do something like this.  I was that person that said I could never, that would go out and walk to the mailbox out of breath.  I was that person watching biggest loser eating a bag of chips thinking "if only I were on that show, then I would be able to do this thing".  I was that person.  I NEVER, in a million years, believed I would EVER be the person on the starting line.  Never.  Not really.

I also want to share that I am still overweight.  7 months later, a million runs later - I still have 50 more pounds to lose.  I have lost 50 and I have 50 to go.  I have done this still being overweight.  You can do it to.  I'm not going to stay overweight - that I know - but it's been a slow process.  But I have still run - and so can you.  I promise you.  If I can do it - I KNOW you can to!

I just have one thing left to say after this very long post.

I am a runner.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Confessions of a working Mom

SO :)

It's been a long, long while - again.  So - let's do a brief update if I happen to have any readers left - which I highly doubt - but hey - a girl can dream, right??

I believe I have accomplished some New Year's resolutions this year!  I think I had 3, although I would have to re-read to remember for sure.

One was to lose weight and get in shape.  I am working on it.  Lost 50 pounds, training for a 5k which will occur on my birthday at the end of September.  I am up to 26 minutes of running people!  Do you have ANY idea how awesome that is?  I never - and I mean NEVER - thought I would get HERE!

Second was to move.  We did.  2 weeks ago.  It has been crazy INSANE - but we did it.  I told my son we would - and we did.

Third - and this wasn't a New Year's resolution nor even on my radar - but God is faithful and He provided me with a new full time job at my brother's company in Ann Arbor as an "administrator" (fancy word for one who sits on her butt at a computer all day and pulls credit reports, bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, etc, etc, etc - for those of you who have gotten mortgages).  Basically I work for a quality control company.  It is federally regulated that all mortgage companies audit 10% of their mortgages a month (I think).  We audit those mortgages.  Really we're auditing the mortgage companies and make sure they keep up with all the laws - which honestly is nearly impossible.  I pull all that information along with 3 other people.  Then we create reports which I copy and paste from the loan computer software onto word documents which gets sent to one of my bosses who goes over them, adds stuff, deletes stuff, and passes that onto the mortgage company and then we get paid.

So - now I'm a full time working Mom. In the past month, I have moved a house I lived in for 10 years, rented a new one, fixed up and rented out my old one, packed more boxes and unpacked more boxes than I ever care to pack or unpack again, moved into a  beautiful little house in Ann Arbor and started a full time job.  WHEW!  Jon started football this week, Elyse goes back to college in 3 weeks and the boys start school in about 5 weeks.  Life moves full steam ahead!

My confessions.

It's HARD to be a full time working Mom!  I'm so thankful for my amazing husband who is stepping in to replace me as house Dad.  I have no idea how we're going to do it once he goes back to school after labor day - but for now - he's cooking, he's cleaning, he's taking care of the kids, the laundry, the dog - and he's doing a great job.

I have to admit - I love my job.  I'm thankful for it, for however long it lasts. It might be temporary and it might not be.  Have to wait another 70 days or so to find out for sure.  I love it oh so much more than substitute teaching.  I sit in a little office with 4 other people who are fun and easy to work with, I have 2 chill bosses (one being my brother) and I don't have to deal with customers.  It is so perfect for me.  And I make more than I did subbing.

What I don't love about my job is how torn I feel once I get home.  When I'm at work, bringing home the bacon, I don't think about how far behind things are at home.  I don't think about the weeds or the dirty clothes or the dishes or the grocery list or the bills or the dog poop in the yard or who has to be where when or any of that.  Marty IS doing a fine job - but it's always been - well - my job.  I get home and he doesn't do the laundry the way I do, he puts the soap on the "wrong" side of the room, and...and well for the first week - I found myself - frustrated.

Until I realized it was all really petty and stupid.  It was OKAY that he was doing a terrifically awesome job.  It was OKAY that someone else can do just as a good of a job as I do - and do it differently.  It didn't mean I had stunk at it.

I miss my kids.  I miss my husband.  Heck, I miss the dog.

This is a new season.  A season of transition.  New town, new home, new job - new a lot.  But one thing remains the same.

God, God has entrusted us with all of it.  He sees something I do not - that together, as a family, we are more than capable of all of this - whatever He has planned for us here.  He brought us here - oh so faithful - I'll tell you all of that later - but God has had His hand in this every step of the way.  God knows that we are here - in His plan.  In his purpose.  I'm excited to see that unfold - to embrace the new, to figure out how to make it work - to find a new church, to meet new friends, to step out in faith in whatever way God wishes me too.

I'll just go along for the ride.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Goodbye Bedford

Long time, no post.  Pretty normal anymore!

In less than 2 weeks, we will be leaving the home we have lived in for almost 12 years.  We moved here when Elyse went to Kindergarten and now she will be a sophomore in college.  Jon was a baby and is now a sophomore in high school.  My how things have changed.

There have been so many blessings - too many to recall and give them proper due.  My kids - wow - have they grown.  They truly are good kids.  It was easier in so many ways when they were small - yet they make me proud every single day.  We moved here and there was so little they could do on their own - they were so dependent on us.  Now - now they are individuals, with their likes, their dislikes, their gifts and talents - both very able to handle life independently.  We are so blessed at the young people they are becoming.  I consider myself blessed beyond measure.

I think the biggest blessing of the last 12 years was our church which led us to the cross.  Our marriage was saved, our kids were saved and baptized, our daughter called into the ministry.  There has been much spiritual growth in our family over the past 12 years.  There is always room for more growth - but we are not the same people we were when we moved here 12 years ago.  We are grateful for the influence of God's people and God's church in our kids lives and in our lives.

We have had many ministry opportunities while here.  We have learned from all of them.  We have worked with international students who have grown our love for world missions and for this beautiful world God has given us.  We have worked with teenagers, young adults, Special Olympics,  kids,  worship, and so many things I can't even think of in this moment.  All have caused us to grow and in every situation, we have been more blessed than the blessing we were to be.  I am thankful for all the experiences we have had while here.  They have grown us closer to Jesus and have made us more like Him.

Our marriage - oh how it has grown.  I think the tougher experiences pulled us closer together.  12 years ago we moved here, wondering if our marriage would survive.  So much has changed.  We have made it and now we have one of the most solid marriages of anyone I know.  We are so deeply in love with each other.  I would have never seen that 12 years ago.

We have survived cancer, job changes, financial gain and financial loss, moves from house to house, being ridiculed, lied about - so many hard, tough things - yet we have grown from each of them.

We have made many good friends.  Aaron and Lois - oh how special you both are to me.  I will miss both of you and your beautiful families.  I am thankful for how you have both stuck by my side through everything.  I am thankful that through it all, despite of me, you have loved me anyway and believed in my, in my family, in my children.  You truly have made my life richer just from being in it.

I am thankful for all the girls I have coached in soccer.  For Carlee, for Lauren, for Bethany, Ryan - the list goes on forever and I don't want to leave anyone out.  I have watched all of you grow from immature high school girls to mature young women who have beautiful families and beautiful lives.  I am so proud of each of you and am thankful to God for the time we spent together.  Those were truly good times for me. Thank you for being a light in my life then and even now.  I do love you all.  I am thankful for Alana - for coaching with me - for Peggy - again - for coaching with me.  I was and am so blessed to have 2 young women who are some of the finest young women I know work alongside of me.  You guys kept things light, kept me on track and focused.  Now I count you both as friends and I am thankful for you.  I am thankful for Bill Regnier who gave me the opportunity to coach.  I am thankful he put up with my stubbornness and inability to be flexible at times :)  I am thankful for Pat Mull who believed in all of my girls as well - who took care of so many details for me and for the girls.  You guys are the best.

I am thankful for Nate & Wendy, Rick & Beth, Mike & Pam.  Where would we be without your Godly leadership in our lives - especially so many years ago.  Thank you for loving Jesus and loving us because of it.

I am thankful for this home we are now about to hand to someone else (still looking if you are interested!).  It has seen much laughter, tears, fear, pain, joy.  The moment I walked into it, I knew it would be ours.  It may be small - but it has been home and our family has grown in it.  I am thankful for it and for our neighbors who have always been so good to us.

Well this post is going on forever.  Thank you Bedford for all the good times.  It's time to say goodbye and make some new memories.  Our door is always open and you are always welcome.  Let this not be goodbye but see you soon.   

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Running Thoughts

I realize I haven't blogged in - well - forever.  I have no apologies and no excuses - it's just the way life rolls sometimes!

So - I have no idea if I've talked about this but I'm training for a 5k currently using a conservative couch to 5k program I found on beginner  I am glad I went the conservative route for 110 reasons - none of which I will share for now :)  It was a good approach for me and I might actually be running 30 minutes straight by the end of it.  I doubt it some days - but I've come a long, long way from being a couch potato to somewhat of a runner or at least a runner in training.

My training has brought me to some conclusions about a few things.  In particular, about a certain group of people.

There is a local running shop that shall remain nameless.  I tried to get shoes there once several years ago - back when all I did was think about exercise but never really did it.  I was overweight then too.  Personally I feel overweight people who brave walking into a running shop should be congratulated, rewarded, encouraged - but that was not the mentality of this local running shop.  It was all they could do to contain their laughter (and, in fact, one young man did laugh as he stood behind the counter).  They lost a good customer that day and plenty more because I recommend another shop every time someone asks - and because I'm overweight and getting in shape - plenty of people ask.

So.  Fast forward to present day.  We have a local park we do almost all of our runs at.  I won't say where 'cause well, this is Internet land and I prefer not to be pulled off a trail at said running park and kidnapped or something - but we go there several days a week to run.  Local running shop also has a local running club that trains at this same park.  Last time I ran, I came oh so close to shoving one of them off the path.  Oh. so. close.

They run either all decked out in the latest running gear or with as minimal clothing as possible with their skinny running bodies flying down the path.  They TAKE OVER the path.  If you don't get out of their way, they will run you over.  They are not nice, don't let you know when they are going to pass, just run with arrogant smirks on their faces and everyone just moves out of their way.  Sometimes, when the weather is cooler, they all wear the same t-shirt advertising their running shop.  Oh how cute. (sarcasm)

Anyway - the point is this.  Next time - next time - I will not move.  I may not be a runner yet but I am a truck and it will hurt if they do not get out of my way.  I promise, it will hurt.  It may hurt me as much, but I will take great pleasure in seeing their skinny little half naked bodies fly across the trail.  Honestly, they need to be humbled.  (I really am not sure if I'm kidding or not - that's how angry it makes me)

I get tired of the arrogance.  The arrogance that says I'm not as important as they are because I'm slow and struggling and barely breathing and heavy.  The arrogance that says they own the place and I'm  not as cool as they are.  The arrogance that says they know more than me, are better than me, can run faster than me, and somehow deserve more recognition than me.  It's all there in their stupid little smiles and inability to share the trail.

I know, I've lost it - but I swear it's true.

I work hard.  I work so hard when I run.  I am in pain every single run.  I have asthma and every single run, I feel as if I am trying to breathe under water. I am running with 60 extra pounds on my frame (down almost 50, I might add).  I deserve respect - regardless of my size.  I deserve respect because I have the courage to step out on that trail with those idiots and run anyway even though they act as if I do not belong.  I do belong.  I may be slow, but I am worthy of their respect simply because I try.

So - if you, like me, are an overweight person who is trying to change their body - good for you.  Keep going - and don't let anyone intimidate you.  You deserve more.  Prove them wrong by not quitting.  And,  if you live in my area - feel free to stand strong and make them give up the path.

And that, my friends, is my 2 cents.  Aren't you glad I'm back?? :)

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