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 . . .