Monday, December 9, 2013

"Six Pack Coming Soon"

Today I was riding the recumbent bike at the gym.  I was really focusing, feeling the burn, and I glanced over and saw this skinny kid pulling some pretty hefty weights.  He had a look of great "umph" on his face, and when I noticed the t-shirt he was wearing, I just had to smile.  It read, "Six Pack Coming Soon."  Now here was a positive thinker!

To you, young man with the t-shirt, thanks for the example of determination--and the smile!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Slipping Through My Fingers

Tonight Hillary went on a date with a nice young man.  He was such a cute little boy in Kindergarten.  And now he's this tall, handsome thing.  As I watched him open the door for her to get in the car, I marveled at the fact that she is not my little girl any more.  It sort of seems like last week she would stroll around the cul-de-sac, chatting with her imaginary friend, Brittany.

Now it's real life.  Now, as she's growing up, everything we ever taught her, or tried to teach her, is going to pretty much matter.  It counts.  And that thought is a sobering one.

As I walked past her bedroom and glanced at the clothes on the floor as well as the homework and hairpins scattered about, I recalled the words of a favorite song.

Slipping through my fingers all the time
I try to capture every minute
The feeling in it
Slipping through my fingers all the time
Do I really see what's in her mind
Each time I think I'm close to knowing
She keeps on growing
Slipping through my fingers all the time. . .

As I wait with quickly drooping eyelids for the sight of her to come bursting through the door, I anticipate hearing all about her evening.  Her father, bless his snoozing heart, has a full day at the church tomorrow.  I encouraged him to get to bed.  I'm actually glad to have just a bit of girl's time. . .  Oh, I love my children.  I feel so blessed.

Ah!  I hear the front door opening. . .

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Julene Soothes the Soul

My friend, Julene Judd, has such a beautiful, soothing voice.  Last night when I took Sophie the dog for a walk, I brought Julene along, tucked in my pocket.  Actually it was Julene's voice singing to me from my iPod, which was tucked in my pocket.

What had been an evening of a few bumps in the road turned into a softer smoother ride as a result of listening to Julene and her beautiful music.

Thank you, sweet Julene, for getting me through those four laps with Sophie (and happy anniversary today)!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Repeating the 3 R's

Yesterday I took Hillary for a birthday facial.  She is so delightfully fun to be with.  I had one right along with her, and it was so refreshing and relaxing and rejuvenating I forgot to redeem my $15 coupon.

. . . Sigh. . . I guess I'm just going to have to go again. . .

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Real Lesson From Mopping

So the other day I got mopping and cleaning and just couldn't seem to stop.  I ended up putting a few coats of finish on the kitchen floor--a process that usually takes about four grueling hours, which includes application and drying time between coats.  I got interrupted numerous times, which I expected, so the whole ordeal lasted a day and a half.  Sophie the dog seemed to understand why I didn't want her so much as looking at that floor, let alone tromping across it.  That floor was so clean we could have eaten off it.  I just wanted to stand there and gaze at it and picture it clean like that forever. . .

Just as I was moving the kitchen table back in place, a knock came at the door.  Three of my adorable, darling, cute young neighbors, along with their cousin, stood there, smiling at me, asking for a Popsicle, which they often do, and which I always love to comply!

I found the very last of the summer season's Popsicles in the freezer.  I sweetly explained to them as I took the wrappers off that since I had worked so hard getting the floor clean, I wanted them to eat the Popsicles outside.  They were just fine with that.

As I was replacing the chairs around the table, in walked the cute little tots with their dripping Popsicles, asking me for a napkin and telling me they had forgotten to tell me "Thank You."

Their bright little faces looked up with me with such Christlike love and innocence.  I simply had to smile.  Is a clean, shiny floor a bigger deal than having a few drops of orange sugar water dribble onto it once in a while from love shared between neighbors?

It wasn't difficult to decide which mattered more.  I got them them some napkins, gave them a hug, and sent them back outside,  but before I cleaned up the mess, I updated my shopping list.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Who Knew?

Who Knew that I'd feel so motivated from General Conference this weekend that I'd look around today and see where I could start improving my life?

Who Knew that I'd start mopping the kitchen floor, then realize I hadn't cleaned underneath my oven in a looonng time, and decide to pull the big ole' thing out of its comfortable resting place?

Who Knew that I'd regret I ever read that book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?

Who Knew that Michael Jackson's "Black or White" song, pumped up really loud on the kitchen stereo, would keep me moving?

Who Knew that so much disgusting dirt, grime, pretzels, ramen noodles, a fanny pack, cleaning cloths, and even a ping pong ball could all fit under there?

Who Knew that peppercorns and mouse droppings look a lot the same?  (I'm voting they were peppercorns)

Who Knew how excited I'd be that the piece of candy I would find under there would turn out to be a piece of licorice, which I don't like, instead of a Tootsie Roll, which I adore?  I seriously was quite excited about that.  It didn't last long, though.  As I cleaned a little more, I really did find a small Tootsie Roll.  Still in its wrapper, hard as a rock.  I threw it in the garbage, then fished it out again, unwrapped it, sprayed bleachy cleaner all over it to guarantee I wouldn't try to eat it, and threw it back in the garbage, where it still sits.  Good for you, Pam.

Who Knew that I was strong enough to put a hole right through that lovely old kitchen vinyl floor as I was moving the oven back?  That strength training is certainly paying off!

Who Knew that I'd be able to get that thing back to where it started out today--and that it would still function?

Who Knew how good the kitchen floor would look (except for that hole in the floor over by the oven)?  Why don't the visiting teachers come over today?

And Who Knows what motivation I will continue to feel from those wonderful conference sessions that will inspire me to do something to improve my life tomorrow?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sources of Guidance

I started to list all of the talk shows that are available on TV in the space of a week.  There seem to be countless!  A plethora of producers, writers, and hosts meet daily to discuss, debate, inform, and in many cases, sensationalize, the problems of the day.  Many topics which affect so many of us are addressed through this media.  And yes, there is good advice given.

The challenges discussed on talk shows are no different than those addressed at General Conference.

However, the difference is the Source of the solutions.  Many learned men and women have spent their lives seeking answers--from other learned men and women.  I don't discount that.  But doesn't it make much more sense to trust in the counsel that comes from those with divine direction?  To "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit?"(Romans 8:1)

Our Heavenly Father wants us to be happy.  He wants us to succeed.  That is why He wants us to seek His guidance and counsel.  "What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same." (D & C 1:38)

I eagerly anticipate the inspiration and heavenly help that will come today through message and music, in a calm and peaceful manner, without commercial interruption, and delivered by divinely appointed messengers!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

The St. George Marathon

My computer has been having issues the past few days.  I am glad to be up and running again.  Speaking of running, as I'm writing this, in about six hours, the St. George marathon will begin.  Just a few short years ago, on two separate occasions, I was down there, prepping for the run.  One year Mark and the kids came along to cheer me on; another year I was there with Dianne and Ruth--my two marathon buddies.  Everyone should run a marathon with Dianne and Ruth.  They are wonderfully positive women.  They taught me how to be happy through those 26.2 miles.  One game we played while we ran was taking a little trip through the alphabet, and coming up with and sharing positive words.  A-wesome, A-mazing, then B-rilliant,  C-apable, and on down the line.  The only rule was that we couldn't say words with a negative connotation, like A-wful, A-chy , B-rittle, B-rutal, or C-an't, or  even C-orpse.  That game really worked well between mile 16 and 19!

Another thing we did was to name a body part that wasn't hurting.  By about mile 20 we simply could not come up with anything, until cute Dianne said that the only part that didn't hurt on her was her earlobe.  We laughed until mile 23!

Part of me is quite content this weekend to be at home, sporting my cozy sweats, watching conference.  But a lot more of me wishes I were down in St. George, with my two running buddies, doing that delightfully grueling marathon. . . I am only too aware of what it would take to get back in training.  I don't have as much confidence in my knees as I used to.  But what an indescribable thrill it is to cross that finish line and have that "Finisher" medal put around your neck!  And especially to do it with people whom you love and appreciate, who have inspired you to try your hardest and give it your all.

To you, Dianne and Ruth, my marathon sisters, thank you for the incredible memories which continue to motivate and encourage me!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Blah. . .

We all have a "blah" day once in a while, don't we?  This has been one of those days.  Today I've played a lot of catch-up, cleaning, organizing, and the like.  But I've felt . . . blah. . .  I thought about President Monson and his talk at the General Women's Conference last Saturday night.  I thought that baking homemade bread may help.  I even took a loaf over to a dear friend, and reconnected a bit. . .

I made some healthy chicken soup, thought that would do the trick.  Nnnnnope.  I talked and laughed with Hillary.  That does always brighten my spirits, no matter what kind of day I'm having.

Could my yuckky feeling be a result of eating two pieces of birthday cake last night? (Hey!  At least it wasn't three!)  Could it be the result of not getting out today on a walk or other exercise besides house cleaning?  I have done a lot of that today.  Yep, very well could be.  Raising the heart rate even a little each day seems to make things better.

Or could it merely be the result of living a mortal existence?  Some days are simply blah.  I'll think like Scarlett O'Hara.  Tomorrow is another day.  I'll sing with Annie.  The sun will come out tomorrow.

I've got the bathwater running.  I'm going to go soak in the tub with a good book and count my blessings.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Happy Birthday Hillary!

To my sweet daughter--who has brought so much joy since joining our family all those years ago on this day--thank you.  Thank you for your happiness, your enthusiasm for life, your joy along our journey together.  I still remember so well that day you were born.  It was a lovely, fresh autumn day, just like today.  The doctor who delivered you kept telling me throughout the contractions, "Patience is a Virture!" until I wanted to throw him across the room.

You were worth every pain, every discomfort, every concern, every single little bit of everything I had to go through to get you here.  And, although I am still trying to get back to that pre-pregnancy shape,  I'm trying to have that patience Dr. Lamoreaux spoke of.

You inspire me to be a good mother, Hillary.  I am trying to take good care of you, so you can make it back home someday.  You have a Heavenly Father who has entrusted you to your dad and me.  We want you to feel of His love, as you hopefully feel of ours.  You are a cherished, beloved daughter.

I am so blessed to be your mom.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Hiking with Angels

I finally hiked the Y.  I can't believe it took me all these years to do it.  And I can't believe I actually made it.   My daughter Sarah lives close to the base of the Y.  I stopped by her house to get a little pep talk.  Since she was so excited about me doing it, I thought I'd text her at each of the 11 switchbacks to let her know how it was going.  Here are the texts I sent her:

The starting gate!

The first switchback:  So far so good.

Switchback 2 - Really?  9 more to go?

Switchback 3 - Did I realize it was this steep?  N to the O.

Switchback 4 - I need Sophie (our dog) and a defibrillator.

Switchback 5 - That wasn't too bad.  My favorite leg so far.  (Also felt like the shortest)

Switchback 6 - Lovely day for a hike!

Switchback 7 - I don't like this very much.

Switchback 8 - That new BYU housing looks like a bunch of little houses made of chocolate.

Switchback 9 - Are we not there yet??

 Switchback 10 - I can smell the finish line!

Switchback 11 - (Sarah had texted back encouraging me to think about how much my muscles love being worked.  I told her all I could think of was all those little houses made of chocolate.)
No fair.  This last leg is steeper and twice as long as all the others put together.

Almost there - Just walk toward the light, Pam.

A beacon of hope - the Provo temple.

Wahoooooooo!  Finally made it!!

 What a delightful view!  I even saw a helicopter below me. 
I sat there, at the top of the Y, drinking in the view.  An older lady came limping up with her son holding onto her.  I asked her how the walk had been.  She said when was able to stop huffing and puffing she would tell me.  She later said she was from Virginia, and hiking the Y had been on her bucket list for years.  This was her first--and her last--time.  It was cute to see how proud and excited her grownup son was of her.  I heard her tell him that he may have to come back and get her tomorrow, as she probably couldn't get back down.  But she made it!

I offered to take a picture of a family from California who also slowly made it to the top.  It was a mother, her teenage son and a younger daughter.  As I stood there to take the picture, I noticed that the little sister was blind.  Her exhausted mother was speaking so kindly to her.  The poor girl was frightened of the steep mountain.  And, on the way back down, I noticed the big brother put his arm around her to help her down.  I wondered just how many teenage boys would be willing to do that.  What a humble, sweet gesture.

The finish line was sure a welcome sight.

My trudge up the hill was all about how hard this was for me.  My knees hurt, I kept wondering when I would be at the top, and for some of those steep steps all I could think about was chocolate.

The hike back down was quite different.  My knees were killing me, my shoes were worn out, my toes hurt, and I really needed that restroom.  But I wasn't concerned with any of it.  Mostly I thought about that sweet young girl, her big brother, and the mother who wanted her children to experience this glorious hike.  I cried tears of gratitude for my eyesight, for my working legs, for that mother's love, for that other son's encouragement, and for his mom being able to check off one more item on her life-dreams list, and for my own daughter Sarah's love and encouragement.  I thought about my two heavenly angels, Emily and Eric.  They were certainly cheering me on.

What a beautifully exquisite day.  To all those who inspired me this morning. . . I thank you with all my heart.

I am going to have to do that one again.  But first I'm going to invest in some hiking boots.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

We Do Not Walk Alone

Yesterday was a day full of inspiring messages.  Last night at the General Women's Broadcast from the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City, we heard messages of hope and the Savior's love.  I love what President Thomas S. Monson said:

"Wherever we are in life, there are times when all of us have challenges and struggles.  Although they are different for each, they are common to all.  . . there may be times when you feel detached--even isolated--from the giver of every good gift.  You worry that you walk alone.  Fear replaces faith."

President Monson continued, "When you find yourself in such circumstances, I plead with you to remember prayer.  God's children were not placed on this earth to walk alone.  What an amazing source of power, of strength and of comfort is available to each of us."

I think of my missionary son, and how he looks forward to receiving letters from us, especially at times when he feels discouraged and alone.  He and I are both learning the important eternal principle that Heavenly Father does not leave us alone.  Just as we send letters of love and encouragement to Stephen here on earth,  God continues to give us heavenly inspiration and guidance.

Oh, what comfort this sweet sentence gives!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

There is No Finish Line

So when I finally got to the gym this afternoon, I was actively seeking some inspiration.  The first person I saw was a guy who looked an awful lot like the child catcher in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," only a bit more buff.  I'm afraid there was no inspiration there.

My thoughts kept returning to what I heard this morning at our Composing Your Life Women's Health Conference.  There was so much wonderful information packed into the morning.  One thought that continues to resonate with me is, that once we decide to make healthy positive changes in our life, there is no turning back.

Of course, we can turn back if we want to slip and slide back into old habits.  That is so easy to do.

So easy.  So familiar.  So comfortable.

But now, as I am making positive lifestyle changes and trying so hard to keep going, I more fully realize that this is not just about getting to the finish line.  There is no finish line.  It is about moving forward and picking myself up each time I fall, and continuing to move in the opposite direction of 'turning back.'  It's a race I will continue to run my whole life.

And it is worth every positive step forward.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thank you, Beckie!

Yesterday was one of those days where I woke up early, noticed the snow on the mountain, felt the premature chill of winter nipping at the heels of a lovely September morning, and I wanted to lounge all day curled up by the fire with my flannel nightgown and a good book.  And a cup of cocoa.

I had other obligations in the afternoon.  And I also wanted to take the day off from exercising.

Then I talked to Beckie.  I needed to run something to her house yesterday, and she was leaving soon.  Should I just take it in my nighty?  No, that might have scared the neighbors.  As I contemplated throwing on a pair of sweats, running the errand, and coming back home to my pink flannel, I realized that I may as well just put on my workout clothes and go on for my workout.  Before thinking too much about it and talking myself out of it, I went ahead.  I got to Beckie's just before she had to leave.  Then I went on to have one of the best workouts of my week.

Thank you, thank you, Beckie, for helping me to get that needed exercise session in.  I wouldn't have done it today without you!!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lucy Brought Me Tootsie Rolls

A sweet lady named Lucy called me two days ago.  She had just visited her parents in a remote area of Mexico and met my cute missionary son.  When she told him she didn't live far from his family, he asked if she could bring home a small package.  She said she would.  I was ecstatic when her phone call came.  I eagerly drove to her home, picturing a thumb drive full of pictures, something--anything--that would show us how he lives and what he experiences each day.  The cream colored envelope was about the size of three boxes of butter.  I tore it open.  There were delightful letters to us all.  And there were Tootsie Rolls.  Tootsie Rolls?  I looked further.  No pictures.  No camera card.  No thumb drive.  What?  He had what may be the only chance in two years to safely send us something home, and he sends Tootsie Rolls?

Then it hit me.  He knows I love Tootsie Rolls.  Even a liiiiiittle too much I love Tootsie Rolls.  He was thinking of me.  He wanted to send something he knew would make me smile.  My heart melted.  I am touched to tears by his tenderness.  Pictures and souvenirs will come.  The letters were full of love for his family and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They spoke of the love he has for the difficult missionary work in which he is engaged.   He said he is not wasting a minute of that experience.

Lucy brought me Tootsie Rolls from Mexico.  Thank you, Lucy, for bringing me much more.  You brought me more happiness  and enlightenment than you will ever know.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Anna the Winner

To Anna, who was on "The Price is Right" today, thank you.  Thank you for exuding such excitement.  You kept me on that elliptical.  I was ready to quit early.  But I just had to see if you would win.  And you did!  You guessed so well you even won both showcases, including a trip to Utah.  Talk about a bonus!

Thanks for the extra little umph I needed today!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

To my Fellow Biker

Another beautiful morning on the Murdock Canal trail.  Heaven bless anyone and everyone who had anything to do with the construction of that lovely piece of road.  And a profound thank you to all of you who live along there, who now have bikers, walkers, runners, and even horses traipsing through your back yards.  And to you unfortunate people who live in that one corner house where I had to stop, bend over and unweave my shoelace which had become caught up in my bike chain--I'm sorry you had to see that.

As I looked into the faces of those along the trail, I saw a fellow biker who looked in absolute pain.  She did not appear happy at all to be there.  I was trying to understand it; as she was even wearing a BYU sweatshirt.  Perhaps she was thinking about the BYU-Utah game a few days ago.

Then, eight miles later, as I had made my loop and was on my way back, I passed her again.  This time she had a smile a mile wide on her face.  Was she anticipating the chocolate doughnut waiting for her back home?  Maybe excited about a wonderful day at work?   Hmmm.  I will never know.  But something turned her frown upside down this morning.  Just as I have, I wonder if she simply started seeing the beauty of the day, and didn't feel her own pain so much.  Who knows.

To you, fellow biker, I'm so glad you were able to feel joy on that bike ride.  It's going to be a beautiful day.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Elder Joseph W. Sitati

Elder Joseph Sitati visited our church yesterday.  He has actually been here for a few days, visiting with people in our LDS stake, as he has reorganized our stake presidency.  The process is quite amazing and divine.  Mark and I had a chance to visit with him and hear his inspired counsel of how to live our lives better, and to draw closer to God.  I felt as if I were in the presence of a true messenger from heaven.  His quiet, loving, yet leading demeanor has already had a powerful influence in our family these past few days.  I want to live better.  I want to keep my house more in order.  I am going to take a song or two off my iPod.  I want to treat others with more kindness and respect.  I want to spend more time reading and soaking up the scriptures.  I want to become closer to Heavenly Father.  Thank you, Elder Sitati, for your example, your words, the tender way I watched you treat your sweet wife, and for the teachings you left with us this weekend.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Sweet Mark

5:00 this morning, Mark gently woke me and asked if I wanted to go on a walk with him.  Usually I love the mornings.  But I didn't sleep well last night, and the only thing I wanted to do was turn over and pull the covers over my head.  I told him to go ahead.  Besides, Sophie, our yellow lab, was running up and down the hall, chomping at the bit, at the prospect of going with Mark on a walk.  Just before they went out the front door, I realized how much I wanted to go, too.  I called out for them to wait for me, and I hurried and got ready while Mark took Sophie around the block.

Although my knee still hurts a bit, I tried to shake it off before it totally lured me back to bed.  The thought of being out, early in the morning, spending some time with Mark, kept me going.

We started around the track just down the street from our house.  Mark looked up at the sky and commented on the beauty.  What beauty?  What did he mean?  It was pitch dark!  And didn't he know how much my knee hurt?  And by the way, now my foot, too?  I need some new shoes.  But I looked around.  I looked up.  Then I noticed it, too.  There were bright, twinkly stars.  The moon was full.  It wasn't so dark after all.  It was a beautiful autumn morning!  Mark then went on to tell me about a wonderful speaker he heard last night at a conference.  He shared this man's ideals and success in his personal, family, and business life.  During the last half of our walk, we talked about those ideas, and it was easy to see how positive Mark is.  He seeks for the good in everything.  And he loves and appreciates life. He loves and appreciates his Father in Heaven.  And he loves and appreciates me!  He tells me often.  I love being married to Mark.  He is my rock.  He finds the beauty in the storm.

And, just as it has seemed to do on other days, my aches and pains began to subside as I focused more on him, and my own eternal gratitude for him in my life.  What a delightful blessing and inspiration he is.

Have a wonderful day, my sweet Mark.  I love you!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Pain and Refocus

An amazing realization occurred yesterday morning as I was on that beautiful bike ride along the Murdock Canal.  My knees were killing me, and I could think of little else throughout most of the ride.  Then I saw the young woman I wrote about in yesterday's entry, running and pushing the jogging stroller.  I realized when I got home that as I was thinking about how inspiring she and many others out there on the trail were, I hadn't even noticed my pain for the remainder of the ride.  It was incredible how that worked!

I remember well my first marathon, just over ten years ago.  The night before the big 26.2 Deseret News Marathon, I wrote down 26.2 (!) names of those who helped me get there.  Family, friends, even teachers and mentors.  I dedicated a mile to each of them.  Each time I reached a mile marker, I pulled out my list and focused on that person for the next mile.  Mark was by my side the entire time, even though he could have finished it much faster than I could, and we talked about that person while we ran (or walked!).  Having someone else to focus on was extremely helpful when the miles grew painful and  when I wondered why in the world I had set out to do this.  What an exhilarating experience to realize the many who had and continue to be such an inspiration.

So.  Now I'm a little older and wanting to get back into the swing of things.  Things like joints and bones and muscles are a little more creaky and wobbly and painful.  They don't do what I'd like them to do as fast as I'd like.  I'm seeking for inspiration.  I'm certain, as happened yesterday, that looking around and focusing on someone else will help me to not be so concerned with my own aches and pains.

Today's 'dedication' goes to the guy I saw in the gym this morning.  I have seen him there once or twice, he looks to be about 40 or 50 years old, but today I noticed him hunched over, walking from one weight machine to the next.  He looked like he was in even more pain than I was yesterday.  He was limping a bit, and I have no idea what his story is.  But he was there.  He didn't not show up to work out.  It was inspiring to see that perhaps he would have rather stayed home in bed this morning, but instead, he was pushing forward.

To you, as you finish your day, I hope the pain lessens.  I hope you have loved ones who will give you support and care.  And I hope you will show up again to push through another day!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Today I went on a bike ride along the newly constructed Murdock Canal.  The morning was beautiful and invigorating.  But my knees were killing me.  What made me think I could run around the track more than I should have, a few nights ago?  That's another story, but today I focus on the wonderful experience I had this morning.  There is something to being outdoors that rejuvenates the spirit, isn't there?  However, all I could think of during the first seven miles of my 11 mile trek was how bad my left knee hurt.  Grateful it wasn't my right one, which is the one that usually hurts.  Anyway, as I rounded a corner, I noticed a young woman running towards me pushing a jogging stroller.  The sun hit her blond hair just so, and she looked like an angel. And she had a pony tail.  It was waving back and forth behind her, and then, as I passed her, I noticed the intensity on her face.  The focus.  The determination.  I thought of her for the rest of my ride.  I admire her dedication.  Not just to her health, but to that sweet child she was pushing.  It was probably her own child, but it could have been a niece, a neighbor, perhaps even a little sister.

Whatever else happens in her day today, it will be much easier to handle because of her run.

To you, whomever you are, thank you for inspiring me this morning!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Getting Going Again

It's been a long few weeks since my surgery.  My hands have been bothering me for a long time, feeling numb at times and weak and like they are always falling asleep (that sounds sorta like the rest of me, too!).  I went in a few months ago and my doctor suggested I may have some carpal tunnel inflammation going on.  So I did the exercises, slept with the wrist brace, and it just seemed to get worse.  When I went in for that funky check where they poke you with this cattle-prod looking thing, they discovered I had severe carpal tunnel syndrome.  I was hoping for a little shot of cortisone, but apparently I was beyond that.  So they did the surgery on both my wrists.  People said I was crazy to get both done at the same time, and yet, I'm so glad to be on the mend and moving forward.  Except I'm not supposed to type.  I have wondered how in the world my doctor expects me to write to my missionary son.  Maybe I need to go back to the basics and try to write a letter by hand.  Although that is a little difficult as well.  I was hoping my doctor could tell me I could not do dishes, housework, lift a finger--for about two or six more months.  Mark has been a champ to pitch in.  So has Hillary.  I'm wishing the pounds had just fallen off during this time, but no such luck.  I'm trying to get back in the swing of things.  Oooh, it's hard.  It's never easy, this starting over.  But I'm determined to keep going.  I just need to look around and realize the many who have inspired me to get back up when I've fallen.  We're all in this together, aren't we?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I'm Glad to Help Entertain.

I'm sure glad I could help entertain today at the grocery store.  I stopped to gaze at the Easter candy, taking in all the bright springy colors, realizing how much I am looking forward to the flowers and sunshine.  One yellow and orange bag of Snickers looked especially inviting.  So I picked it up, noting the fact that those fun-size candy bars continue to have less fun in them each year, it seems.  I smelled the bag, sensed that the Snickers were nice and soft, then plopped them in my cart.  I looked at them again, picked them up, thought for a minute more, and put them back on the shelf.  I may have given them a little bit of a toss on the shelf, because they came flying back off onto the floor.  Somewhere there was someone telling me that was a sign that I should still have them in my cart, so right out loud, I said, "No, No, No, No, NO!" and thrust them back with the others.  I looked over at this older gentleman--I think he was from India--and realized he had witnessed the whole thing.  He was quite amused.  He had seen me have the self-debate of whether I should purchase them, then watched it all unfold.  He was politely chuckling and I was mortified.  Isn't that wonderful that I could provide a little  entertainment today for him and for anyone else who may have been watching my performance.

Lesson Learned from Today:  Make that decision before I go to the grocery store to steer clear of the Easter Aisle.  And don't talk to the candy!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My Finish Line is his Starting Line

In eight hours, our son will be set apart as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  For the next two years, Steve will be serving the wonderful people in the southern part of Mexico.  For the past 18+ years, Mark and I have wanted this opportunity for him.  I have been planning for this day, hoping for this day, eager for this day, wondering if this day would ever come, and even dreading this day, questioning if what I have taught him has been enough.  I am on the last leg of this marathon that I have been running with him since his birth.  We have not been alone.  There have been times when I have hit the wall, times when I have been desperate for some much needed water, and countless times when I have simply needed to stop and rest.  I have built my strength back up to keep running, but I have never quit.  Believe me, there have been times when I have wondered what quitting would be like.  Like the time that nice police officer called at 3:00 in the morning to ask me where my son was.  I groggily told him that he must be curled up in his bed, fast asleep.  Apparently he wasn't.  He was not in real trouble, other than breaking a curfew.  It was sort of funny . . . the first time.  And then there were some of those parent-teacher conferences.  And his Sunday School teacher asking me once again where he was during class . . . And then that one or two times when  . . .

Oh, but he's come a long way.  And, when I think about it, I have, too.  Like any other marathon, I have been delighted to run this one, but found it at times to be dismally difficult and grueling.  Now, with my finish line within arm's reach, I don't think it was all that bad.  In fact, I have rather enjoyed most of it; and endured the tough uphill miles with a smile--or at least half a smile.  Okay.  There have been some days where I have whined and cried my way up those hills.

In his talk this past Sunday, he mentioned what a wonderful mother I have been, and how excited he is for this next chapter in his life.     . . .   Sigh. . .  All those uphill battles and challenges . . . worth it, just to hear those few simple words.

After we drop him at the curb at the MTC tomorrow, I will come back home, maybe go down to his room, breathe in his lingering little boy/manly smell, and I will probably sit down and cry.

My marathon of getting him ready to run his own will at last be finished.

Stephen has been preparing all these years, and he will be on the Lord's time now.  Hopefully he will keep the same Running Companion that I have needed and had by my side throughout mine.

I will be Steve's loudest earthly cheerleader.  I will be there to hand him water when he needs it, and even hold up a poster of encouragement now and then.  I will be anxiously waiting for him to cross his own finish line in 24 short months.

But tonight, as the starting gun fires and he takes off running, hopefully he will remember that there is Someone who is not only willing and ready, but eager to be with him throughout his entire marathon, just as He has up until now.  He will not be alone.  Stephen will be running with the most experienced Runner of all.  One who has been through it before, and will be there to buoy him up, support him, encourage him, give him water when he thirsts, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold when he faces and trudges up those hills.  Oh how I hope that he will just reach out for that sweet Support,  that incredible Power that will guide him--all the way to the finish line.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Living "Plan B" in Holland

I've been thinking a lot about Holland.  It seems to be only a matter of time before we discover we are living a life that we had not anticipated--perhaps it's because of our own choices, or, more often than not,  it's that we face challenges that we are sure we didn't sign up for! Nevertheless, we find ourselves putting aside our "Plan A" in exchange for "Plan B," or "Plan C. . ."  

I love this essay by Emily Perl Kingsley, which I included in my book, Running with Angels.  She has a child with a disability, and I think so many of us can relate this to other experiences in our lives, as well as understand what others are going through:

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......
When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.
After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."
"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."
But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.
The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.
So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.
It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.
But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."
And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.
But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

Here's to all those living in Holland!   The tulips are beautiful!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Whew!  Exercise completed for the day!!  Couldn't have done it without that self-pep talk, some nice nudging from cute daughter, Amy, and . . . prayer.  I've discovered over the past few years that I can't do it on my own.  Even if no earthly help is available at the moment, I can always count on lifting my eyes heavenward for direction, guidance, and peace.  Encouragement from a loving Father in Heaven inevitably comes.  I know I can do pretty much anything with His help!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Excuses to Exercise!

I've been trying to exercise more lately.  Losing weight was extremely difficult, and keeping it off is even harder.  It doesn't help that as the years go by the metabolism slows down and knees ache even more.  I have found every excuse in the book not to exercise.  Valid or In.  Un?  Non?  Anyway, I've given in to the more "worthy" excuses over the years, like having pre-term labor, or taking care of a child with a chronic illness, but I'm afraid, more often than not, I have also given in to those reasons that aren't so good--in fact, ones that are downright despicable, such as not wanting to have to have one more T-shirt to launder, or not thinking I had time.     

Well, I'm changing my attitude.  Each day I'm considering all the excuses to exercise.  Feeling good, sleeping more soundly, losing weight, warding of old age (!), feeling good, keeping muscles and bones strong, avoiding osteoarthritis and diabetes, and, oh, did I mention feeling good?  Feeling wonderful?  Feeling on top of the world, ready to tackle anything, and finding I have more time for all the important things?

When I really stop to think about it, there are many more excuses to just go ahead and exercise.  Even a ten minute walk.  Or, if my knees are hurting, using my $5.99 stretch band to work my arms.  Even when I don't stop to really think about it, all those wonderful, enlightening, life-enhancing reasons I can find for getting a little rise in my heartbeat are still there.  Just waiting for me to realize how valid they are, and how incredibly delightful I feel when I do it.

The Journey Continues . . .

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Journey Continues . . .

Today I have thought about how this 'life race' just isn't over.  I've also realized how much I have learned from people over the years.  Those who have lost a child or other loved one; those who have experienced the craziness of training for and running marathons.  Those who have thought they could never run a 5K but have crossed the finish line.  Those who have tried to lose weight--and keep it off.  I have shared my struggles, and in turn, have been so inspired by those who have been willing to share their own challenges and triumphs.  We're all running this race together.  And it's not over yet!

The journey continues . . .