Saturday, March 19, 2011

Am I A Warrior?

My brother and I have had a momentary lapse of sanity and registered for the Warrior Dash. Actually, it looks like a lot of fun and we're not taking it too seriously. But ... since my money has been paid, the frugal side of myself is insisting the lazy side of myself get busy training!

So today I went to my favorite local park for a "long run." (That's in quotes, because since it's been over 2 weeks since my last run of any kind, 'long' is a relative thing.) I did three miles.

I know that's not a very impressive long run for someone who 15 months ago completed a half marathon. But that was 15 months ago, and a lot of life has happened in between and I'm a little de-conditioned. So three miles was good for me today. And it was three hard-working miles.

I did the big 1.38mi outer loop first, for a good, slow warm-up. Walked much of it, ran the last bit. Then I hit the "soft surface" loop in the middle. This one is just over a mile long and undulates beautifully through the woods and around the disc golf course. The trail is crushed gravel, some of it packed and hard; some fresher and looser. I thought the squishy surface and the short, steep hills would be good practice for these 40-year-old legs to prepare for whatever kind of crazy trail the Dash will be on. I did the loop in just under 13 min, which is not bad considering the steep hills and turns and the short walk break I took to drink my water. (Don't know about you, but I can't drink while running. ;)

I finished the run on the paved trail, and had a good stretch afterward. It was a great workout and really burned off some stress. I'm thankful for the sunshine, for nice parks, and my family's cheerful attitude about my running. And for the gift of being healthy enough to run.

As for the race - My bro is going to kick my butt! He can already run 3mi in 26min! And he's five years younger. But we're going to have a great time enjoying each other's company in what a friend calls a "random act of fitness."

Next up: keep running the soft trail once a week; do some speed drills to try to shave some time off my 3 miles; find some things to practice climbing over; lots and lots of push ups so I don't embarrass myself going over the vertical obstacles. :o

**my 6yo son just read some of this over my shoulder and said, "you gotta speed up, man!" thanks for the vote of confidence, son.


*** i forgot to mention that the run was even.more.fun b/c i was wearing my new Nike tempo shorts (in vivid pink), thanks to a gift cert. to my fave running store. woo hoo!

26/30 Date Night!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

3 days

Three days. I would love three days. In my house. Alone.

Day 1 - decompression. literally just sitting still and staring off in to space and letting my brain and body rest. it is not an exaggeration for me to say that i'm experiencing a level of weariness deeper than any i've felt in nearly 17 years of being a mom. don't judge. ;) i'm being vulnerable here, and hoping that perhaps my honesty will encourage someone that they're not alone in their struggles.

Day 2 - work like a mad dog getting some unfinished projects done - like purging toys, sewing pillows, organizing school papers, and putting photos in albums.
**wait. who am i kidding? i'm so behind on home-managing at this point that it would take me an entire day just to get caught up on the ordinary cleaning and meal-planning.**

Day 3 - do something i *enjoy* doing, like read a book, take a long run, meet a friend for lunch, or go shopping when i'm not in a hurry, with 5 kids in tow.

BUT ..... "not my will, but Thine be done."

The Lord knows I'm an introvert. And he gave me 5 amazing kids and a house that's rarely quiet. ;) The Lord knows that it is a challenge for me to be 'on' as a parent from early in the morning until late at night. (and soemtimes beyond!) He knows that I struggle to maintain balance and margin in our schedule, while striving to find ways to serve and still fit in the opportunities that come with schools and church. He knows that teens need mommy, too - and often late at night, no matter if I must be up at the crack of dark to make lunches and get the middle two off to school. The Lord knows that the issues that come with parenting teens are so much weightier than with little ones. And yet I still have little ones. The Lord knows that just when I think my brain can't produce one.more.sane.thought, that my sweet 4yo will crawl in my lap and ask for a story. And the Lord knows the load I am able to bear. This is the job He gave me, because He knows that He will equip me to do it. It is only for me to submit and repent of my despair and 'do the next thing.'

And truthfully, I love it all. Every messy, exhausting, stressful, anguishing, repetitive part. I love that my 14yo still wants to listen to me read aloud; that my 16yo always wants to discuss something deep, like the ramifications of a communist world-view; that my precious nearly-12yo dd loves to cook with me every day, even when it would be easier to do it all myself; that my 6yo tells me, "Mom - I love it when you tell me all about things. I love learning all the things there are to know" and when he says, "Can you tell me all about school zones and how they work?" I love that my 4yo tells me every day how pretty I am and blows me kisses each time she sees me - even when it's only been five minutes. What a life! How BLESSED I am to be living it!

And yet, the struggles are real. It would be foolish to deny them. And meals in the crock pot are not the answer. (tongue firmly planted in cheek here - but seriously, i'm full of all sorts of organizational hints and handy tips. but sometimes life is bursting at the seams so that the answer is bigger than a new chore chart. and ultimately, those 'tips' can be turned into the tools of legalism and pride -if they work, or despair -if they don't. again, just keepin it real. the first thing people tend to do when someone says they're stressed is offer a new way of making a grocery list, LOL. ok. sarcasm over now.)

I have found some mesure of encouragement from brief chats with 2 other moms in a similar state -high school to preschool and everything in between. They both shared similar struggles. That helped, at least to know I'm not crazy. So what is a tired, stressed mommy to do?

I recently read Loving the Little Years. What a great book - even if yours are not so little anymore! The insights are ageless. I'm planning to write a full review when I have the time, just because I think every Mom should read it! At one point, the author says she realized (when she had 5 kids 4 and under) that she needed to strike the word "overwhelmed" from her vocabulary. That this is the job God called her to do, and she'd better quit whining about it and do it! I think that's where I am.

Jesus said, "without Me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5) The Lord has led me to a place where I can't do it - I can't possibly be faithful to everything I must do ... without Him. I tend to be a perfectionist, maybe even a bit of a legalist. But life has me over the edge right now so that I could know beyond a shadow of a doubt that His strength is made perfect in weakness, and that His grace IS sufficient! If I could manage all this on my own - I would be puffed up like a peacock and no help to anybody.

But because I can't do it - then I can be a clay pot, ready to be used by God for His purpose, and according to His strength. Philippians 4:13 for goodness sake! "I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

That verse in John 15, it says: "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me, and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." That's the secret. The key to our fruitfulness as moms lies in abiding in Jesus! And that is what we must do - it's the only thing we can do - if we are to serve our families and grow in grace.

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9. So I'm not giving up. I'm abiding in Jesus. And I'm stiking overwhelmed from my vocabulary.

What about you?

(PS - I could have titled this post "24 Hours Without Questions," an event which would also make me exceedingly happy. *wink)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

24/30 Feet of Clay

Ya'll know I'm not perfect, right? I'm deeply flawed. I'm the chief of sinners. I'm NOTHING save for the grace of God and the fact that my life is hidden with Christ in God.
Just checkin.
I'm not sure why I blog - I'm wrestling with that question right now, and considering closing DTNT. It's certainly not because I think the world is missing something if not graced by my foolish words and pictures. It's definitely not to make money. I think perhaps in part it's because I hope that someone else struggling with the same things I do will take comfort in knowing they're not the only one. And if there is any spiritual light I feel led to share, it's only because I need to hear the very same lesson myself.
Feet of clay.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

23/30


I was blessed by reading this post, and inspired to continue in my efforts to raise my daughters to be artful in their homes, to the glory of God.
***I do feel the need to note that our home doesn't always look this neat. In fact, rarely does it even come close! We live in it, after all. All seven of us. Some days, when life is at it's busiest, I feel like our house is just a shell - a place where we make messes in all our comings and goings, only stopping to eat and make another mess. Perfection in home-keeping is not my goal. Ever. But blessing the inhabitants of this home and doing my best to make it a haven for them is. Not that it's a goal I've attained, but one to keep striving for.

Friday, March 4, 2011

22/30



Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity. ~John Ruskin