I Blinked

The Distance From Where I Am to Where Nate Is ...
The Distance From Where I Am to Where Nate Is …

Three weeks ago, I did one of the hardest things in my life. I put my second born on a plane headed for Kansas to go to college. Kansas! Wow! I never saw that one coming, and let me tell you, it hit me pretty hard to realize that I blinked and here he was, all grown up and heading off to college.

It has ALWAYS been my Nathan’s aspiration to play baseball. My husband, knowing this, has kept him on track, making sure his grades were on point, and that he played high school baseball, travel baseball, made videos, and took him to various baseball camps for recruiters to scout him. He kept him safe in that he monitored his pitch count, took him to various appointments when he suffered an injury, and bought him the equipment he needed to succeed. My husband does the same for our younger son, Noah, who has similar aspirations. Had it not been for him, I’m not sure that Nate or Noah would be in the positions that they are in now.

Nathan signing his Letter Of Intent to play baseball for the Bethany Swedes!
Nathan signing his Letter Of Intent to play baseball for the Bethany Swedes!

Enter Coach Bartman from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. In mid July, my husband received a call from Coach Bartman asking for Nathan to come out to Kansas to tour the campus and to talk about possibly going out there to go to school and play baseball. Unfortunately, because of timing of our vacation to Maui, and the Coach’s availability, it was not until early August that they could fly out and meet. My husband, thinking that Nathan wouldn’t really like the thought of going to school so far away, especially in Kansas, agreed to take him just for the experience of interviewing and talking to a recruiter. That meeting would prove to be a life changing moment for all of us as Nathan was offered an athletic scholarship, and then we were surprised that Nathan was excited and signed his letter of intent to play prior to leaving Kansas.

Here is where is become somewhat tricky … Nathan signed the Letter of Intent on August 8th, school was to start on August 18. There was no time to process. No time to ask for time off from work so that I could help him move and get settled. The only time that we had was to make sure that he got immunized properly, got a physical prior to leaving, pick up some clothing, and pack only the essentials that he needed and then send him off.

You cannot imagine my anxiety prior to his leaving. I like to let everyone believe that I’m made of armor, that I’m this emotionally strong person who doesn’t cry. It’s a facade. I’m really good at pretending and not letting people see that I’m vulnerable. I’m not good at letting people see the “real” me, nor do I like to let my guard down and let people get through the wall that I have built so nicely around myself as protection. Let me tell you, the heavy heart, the chest tightness, the constriction in my throat, and the tears that leaked out of nowhere … I had no idea that it could be so bad. The pain and struggle are both so REAL. The anxiety attacks would come at me out of no where, and the only thing that would help was for me to run – to physically run because I really felt as if I were crawling out of my skin! It’s safe to say, to tell everyone that I’m NOT made of armor, that I’m as normal as the next person. Awwww, com’mon now, don’t be so surprised!

150003Putting him on that plane, watching him walk away to fly a distance of 1,665 miles away was one of the hardest things I have ever had to endure. Let’s face it, it’s just not somewhere you can hop into your car and drive to should he need help.  I asked my husband if he would tell Nathan that he couldn’t go, to tell him that he had to stay. He would not. He reminded me that this was what we have worked so hard for. He reminded me that this was the goal – to raise independent, strong, good-willed children, who go off to college and find their passions and go after them. I know and understand that, but it doesn’t make it any easier for me. He also told me that had I coddled him just a little bit more, and done more things for him, that we would not be in the situation that we were facing, that he wouldn’t want to leave the nest and that he would just want to stay home and let me continue to take care of him. Yeah, that wasn’t happening!

It’s safe to say that Nathan made it to Kansas and got himself set up without the help of his Mama. Despite my anxiety, I am incredibly proud of and happy for my boy! I will be okay, and I know Nate will be successful. He is making his dreams come to reality – how can any parent be upset about that! I only wish that I had a little more time to spend with him; that time could’ve crept by a little slower instead of sneaking up on me so quickly! I was okay, once I knew that he had made it to Kansas and situated for the most part. So hard to believe that he can do those things … without my help.

When I was much younger, even before I had thoughts of having children of my own, I read a book by Kahlil Gibran called The Prophet.  I pulled my dog-eared copy from my bookshelf and re-read page 17:

“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.”

I’ve always loved this passage. I didn’t quite fully understand it until I had children of my own, and got to where I was letting them go to do things like go to parties without me, learn how to drive, go off to college, and then move far away from me.

My advice to you younger parents is this: Don’t Blink. Seriously. It seems like just yesterday when my kiddos were learning how to walk, how to ride a bike, starting kindergarten. Time flies by so quickly. Enjoy your children – EVERYTHING about them because it’s true that you’ll miss it. Hug them a little tighter, but not so tight  that you stifle them. Give them the space, and foster an environment where they are able to learn independence and grow with your guidance.  Set their wings securely so that eventually when the time comes to let them go, you can be confident in the fact that they will fly in the direction of their dreams but yet know that they can always come home, that you will provide them with a safe place to land should they need help.

I am so proud of all of my children.  This year Grace started 6th grade, Noah started his senior year of high school, Nathan started his freshman year of college, and my Samuel started teaching a college class and started graduate school! Wow! I look forward to what the future brings. I am excited and happy for all of them. Like I said though, I wish I hadn’t blinked!
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The Dreaded Email From My Doctor.
The Dreaded Email From My Doctor.

It’s the middle of April 2014 already! How does this happen? I’ve looked in my que and I can see posts from 2013 that I haven’t posted or even finished. Such a lagger, and I have no excuses! Yeesh! Let’s see how this goes … Everyone and their uncle knows that 2013 was not exactly the “Best Year Of My Life” kind of year.  I really wanted it to be, and I really thought it would be because “13” is my favorite number.  It started off well, and just sort of ended just before it even really began.  Towards the end, however, it started to pick back up and I started to get into a groove – I was starting to CrossFit again, and I even ran a half marathon, but I just never felt “right.” I still felt out of sorts and even discombobulated. I thought I would elicit the help of my doctor to help me.  So I emailed my doctor in December to ask her if I could have a simple blood test to see where my hormone levels were. I know that in times of stress, hormones can get out of whack. I knew that my adrenals were fatigued, so my cortisol levels were skyrocketing. My doctor did email me back, but her response was NOT what I was expecting. It was no where near sympathetic, not even close. She basically told me that she did not believe that what I had was Adrenal Fatigue, rather she told me that I was depressed! What. The. Hell?!?  Wow! Just like that. She wrote a prescription out for some sleeping pills, and referred me to Mental Health. Wow. Needless to say, it set me off on a tangent and it fueled me to seek my own answers and get help for myself.  I can only imagine other patients emailing her and getting the same response and BELIEVING her and buying into the bullshit that they’re depressed, and taking medications that they don’t need! Wow. Just wow! I have no words to describe the disappointment that I feel in my primary care provider. I can only offer you this advice: YOU are the expert on your body.  YOU know yourself better than anyone else regardless if they have a medical degree. YOU KNOW YOU. Seek your own answers, don’t take the word of an “expert” who’s supposed to be on your side helping you. Just because they went to years of school, doesn’t make them an expert on you! God, help us all. So … I did what I believed was best for me. I fired my doctor, and I went on a quest to find my own answers to help myself.

It's okay ...
It’s okay …

In January, I could feel that I wasn’t 100% … I felt as if I were half-assing the WODs at CrossFit. I also felt as if I wasn’t giving anywhere near 100%. My body may have been in the box, but I really I felt as if I were not really progressing. I felt as if I were just there, taking up space and going through the motions.  I wasn’t dropping the weight that I gained throughout out the last year. And I was fatigued – mentally, physically, spiritually … I was spent. Drained. (Hello, HIGH cortisol levels!) So I knew that something had to change, and it was up to me to make that change. After a little, okay A LOT of soul searching, a few talks with my husband, and some others whose opinions I highly value, I made a few decisions to start the process of “resetting” myself and set if on an quest to restore balance within myself.

Tiny Smile Half 2014
Tiny Smiles Half 2014

Two things happened in February … I ran my first half-marathon of the year, the Tiny Smiles Half in Galt, and then the next day I started Bikram Yoga. As much as I love the power that my body emits during a long run, that feeling of pushing my mind to get my body through to the finish line, I really love and enjoy the peace that Bikram gives my mind as it restores my body from the “punishment” I bestow upon it. I love that it’s a open eye meditation.  I was just getting back into practice last year when I got injured and had to put it, as well as everything else, on the back burner.  This time I made a commitment to myself to practice two to three times a week. Within the first week, I was hooked again and felt amazing. I love the heat, but what I really love is the intense focus that I give myself for the 60 to 90 minutes that I am there. As easy as it is for me to get into a zone while running, during Bikram yoga I am able to easily transcend while there, and I come out of that hot room a different person than when I walked in.

Bikram Buddies
Bikram Buddies
Addicted to needles.
Addicted to needles.
Manual Adjustment by my Chiro.
Manual Adjustment by my Chiro.

Initially, the plan was for me to take the month of February off from any and all “hardcore” training. I wanted to miss CrossFit, and I did, but as February came and went, I still didn’t feel “ready.” March was to be more of the same – yoga, kickboxing, and working out in my own home box which I dubbed the “STAT Box.” I met up and consulted with a Compounding Pharmacist who was able to verify that I did indeed have Adrenal Fatigue, and was able to prescribe some medications and supplements to help me in my quest to restore balance. In this time, I went to see my Chiropractor and my Acupuncturist regularly and just continued to relax and wait.

Classes & Mindset Therapy.
Classes & Mindset Therapy.

I missed CrossFit. I missed my beloved box 209. I missed my trainer. I missed my body when it does CrossFit. But I wasn’t ready to go back. I was content to just keep on what I was doing. I felt rested. I felt better. I planted plants in my garden.  I watched my husband go to CrossFit and workout without me. I took a lot of classes that enriched my mind. It was ironic that the classes that I found and registered for were in line with my goals to stay focused, stay happy, and find balance. I love that I was directed to take a class on happiness entitled The Secrets of Happy People. There was a series at work that was offered as free for employees that I was able to register for. I was able to connect with a Psychotherapist who specialized in CrossFit Athletes, and I was able to sign up for online coaching to “reset” my mindset.  And the most interesting of all was a class on meditation that I was led to by complete accident.  Well, I don’t believe in “accidents.”  I believe that things happen for a reason, and that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. Wow. Things were just all in alignment for me. Through all of these classes I was able to learn things that I felt in tune with. So it was an amazing two months of self-discovery and rest.

Running Of The Elk Half 2014.
Running Of The Elk Half 2014.

But here it is … April already, and I’m starting to get the itch. I’m ready to find my way back to my trainer and to my box. I feel mentally stronger. I feel as if mentally, I have always been strong, but the compounding stresses that I experienced in 2013 really took a toll on my and beat me up psychologically more than physically. It’s time to test the mind again, and I did that recently with another half marathon that I was totally unprepared for physically. The Elk Grove Running of The Elk Half Marathon. Ugh. Never have I wanted more to just stay home and in my warm bed.  Never have I gotten into my car and just thought, “I’m just going to sit here,” until 15 minutes to gun time. I seriously sat in my car and had to talk myself into walking to the start line. Wow. But I did it. I got out of my car and I walked to the starting line with NO time to spare after having to use the porta potty! Throughout the ENTIRE run, I kid you not, I prayed. I seriously believe that God wanted me to be in church that day because all I did was pray. I knew that my body knew what to do to get me through to the finish line, it was my mind that I had to tell to STFU! Time to move on. Time to get serious about training again. Time to let go of the past, and move forward with myself. I’ve hit the “reset” button and now it’s time to put what I’ve learned in motion. It’s time to start rebuilding Row.  I’m not going to say much about what I’m doing, rather I’m just going to let the results speak for themselves.  033121

Stronger than ever ...
Stronger than ever …

 

The Things That Run Thru My Head While My Feet Are Running

I run … A lot.  I’ve run a lot of races and at every race, I see something crazy, or notice something, and every time I think to myself, “I’d love to run with my helmet cam and a mic so I can document all this crazy sh*t!”  I know that I’m not perfect … I’m far from it, but some of this stuff is off the wall and so obvious that I wonder what the other runners think. So … I’m going to just document things that I’ve seen or thought about while at a race.  Mind you, these are MY thoughts alone and I’m just getting them out of my head for the sake of MY own entertainment.  Remember, my humor is somewhat sick and twisted so forgive me.  And also remember this is me talking to ME in my own head – although I’m sure some of it has, at one time or another, slipped out somehow loud and completely by accident, not meaning to hurt anyone.  Remember … this is ME talking to ME …

Damn it’s freakin’ early.  I mean it’s too early to be awake!  What the heck? I should be sleeping still!

I can’t wait for this to be over so I can take a nap.

Geez, it’s cold/hot (mostly cold) out here?

I hope I didn’t forget anything. (Pats self down). iFitness belt – check. iPod with earbuds – check. Gu/Nutrition – check. Water bottles – check. Garmin – check.  Okay, okay, okay, already.  Stop OCD’ing.  You have everything.

I hope my feet hold up. I hope I wore the “right” shoes. Gawd, I should’ve put my inserts in. I think I wrapped my ace wrap too tight.

Damn it!  I forgot my lip balm! Ugh.

Sunglasses? Where are they? On top of my head … duh!

Where did all these people come from? I wonder how fast they all are? Let me predict what place I’ll come in.

Why? Why am I doing this again?  Why do I do this to myself?

“Excuse me, can you take my picture, please?”

Is my Garmin on? Why can’t I get a signal?

Gotta set up my music. Earbuds on as I like them. What’s on this playlist again?

Gun time! Oh my Gawd!  I’m not ready!

Where’s Chris?

My feet feel heavy.

Control your breathing. Slow down a tiny bit, Row.

Ow, my ankle/foot hurts. I hope it holds up for 13.1 miles.

Really, she’s wearing “that?”

What? It’s only mile one?

Compression gear means to COMPRESS.

Hello? Excuse me … Um … yeah, did you check yourself in the mirror miss, ’cause your shorts are a little bit too short.  “Cheeks” should not be showing, especially when they are not very nice cheeks to look at!

Some people should not wear compression gear.

Some people really need to wear compression gear.

Her gait’s different. Her left leg circles out. That’s gotta hurt.

I wish Nathan and Noah liked running.

Aaaaarrghhh … my shorts keep creeping up … LOL! (tugs shorts down)

He’s a heel striker.

She’s a pronator.

Wow … it looks like she could use new shoes.

Oh boy, your music is too loud – especially when I can hear it thru my ear buds.

My feet hurt. I wonder if I should stop and stretch?

I’m not going to stop until mile 6.5. Com’mon, Row., suck it up.

I’m tired.

I’m hungry.

Really? Cotton?  Cotton is ROTTEN!

I’m glad I don’t wear heels, I’d really jack my feet up.  I don’t know how women do it though.

Ooops … there’s cheek girl again.

What mile am I on?

Oooofff! Whoa … Have you not ever heard of deodorant? Must run away …

Oooh … I like this song (sings out loud).

I don’t understand why my trainer says that I need to quit running?

Is it time for a Gu? Is it time for a salt cap?

Oooh … I like that sign … ‘Where’s everyone going?”

“I’m really glad you’re out here …” Said to almost every volunteer and officer on the course.

Gawd, that water is awful (spits it out).

Her compression gear is not tight enough … Yikes. Supposed to minimize jiggle.

What mile am I on? How much longer?

Oooooh … Camera crew … Smile and throw up a “shaka.”

I can’t wait to take a nap after this.

Ohhhh … Mile 11. Com’mon, Row., you got this.

To every person I pass, “Com’mon, run with me. You got this.”

“Finish strong. Come with me. Let’s go.”

Oh my gawd, where is mile 12? (Checks Roxanne the Garmin.)

When’s my next race? Do I really want to do this AGAIN?

My head needs to shut up.

I’m hungry … I hope they have good post race food.

Uhhhhh uhhhhh … Mile 12, com’mon, you got this.

Yea … Fat Boy Slim … Rockafellar Skank. Take me home. (Sings)  “Right about now, the funk soul brother … Check it out now …”

Pick it up, Row. You can do this. One more mile. You can do it for one more mile. Less than 10 minutes. Less than 10 minutes …

Look! There’s the finish line … It’s right there.  Right there … Dig deep, Row.  Dig DEEP!

You can push a little harder.  You can go a little faster …

Cramp. Oh, geez, cramp.

Push, Row. PUSH.

She is NOT beating me …

Mile 13 … The finish is right there. Go!

Oh. My. God. I’m DONE. Thank you God, I am done.

Give me that medal!

Yea, I did it … Where’s the food?

I am so done! Yea!

What’s my next race? Really? I’m thinking about the next race already?

I wish that the dialogue was more exciting. I don’t really cuss so there’s not really much cussing at all during my run. I really am this boring. Most time what goes thru my mind are mini prayers. Something will remind me of someone, and I’ll ask God to bless them and let them know that I’m thinking about them. For example, at my race in Fresno, at the half mile point was the Amtrak Station and it reminded me of my friend, Linda, so I asked God to bless her, etc. A certain song may come on and remind me of my daughter, or another friend, and I’ll smile and again tell God that I am thankful for their presence in my life. Or … when a certain part of the course is getting hard and I’m tired and want to stop, I’ll hear the voice of my old trainer, Scott, tell me to suck it up and keep going. Most of my runs are pretty mindless and I usually run alone, so I just use that time to think and pray. I am known to laugh out loud, sing out loud, or even shed a tear or two. So … yes, my mind wanders while I run. While my feet are on the ground, moving in the direction of the finish line, my mind is ALL over the place thinking, praying, laughing at people, talking to myself, wanting to scream out insanely at the top of my lungs …

I’m not one of those people who let’s what’s in my head come out of my mouth. I’m an internalizer, and what “needs” to come out, comes out on paper.  I don’t do much talking so running and thinking works for me. Running is awesome.  It’s a great place to do your best thinking. Well, I guess, it’s the best place to do MY best thinking and meditating … and, yes, I would suggest that you try it too if you already don’t. And it would be interesting to hear what your thoughts are as well …

Train HARD!  Train SMART!  Eat WELL!  Run HAPPY!  And, most importantly, have FUN in the process.

The Power of Paper and Ink

It's the little things that make me happy ...

There’s something about the power of a good book that lulls me … that takes me to places where I can only dream of going … that can empower and motivate me.  I love books.  “Real” books, not the electronic versions.  I love being able to touch the pages, smell the ink on the paper, highlight and tag words that inspire me.  I love book marks.

When I was younger, I thought I’d be a librarian or a journalist because I loved, and still love reading and writing so much.  What I have learned though is that I don’t have to be either … I can still love reading and writing without having to be a librarian or a journalist.

I had a collection of Scholastic Books as a child.  You’d remember them … getting the newsprint flyer with books all over them.  I’d save my money and buy a few here and there.  I loved them, and if it were up to me, I would have kept them, but it was not.  I remember coming home only to find that they were no longer there.  I remember the devastation, and I believe that this is where my hoarding of books stems from.

These are my "main" bookshelves ... There are more ... =)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve amassed quite a collection of books.  I mean a HUGE collection.  Not a few, but a lot.  It’s so difficult for me to get rid of them so I just keep them.  I don’t mind, but I believe that my family does because they take up so much space in our house.  I believe that they’re a part of me.  All of them.  They have helped shape who I am today.

I clearly remember teaching myself to read, and the elation and joy I experienced as I read the words.  I remember how proud I was when my first grade teacher, Mrs. Isabel Corpus, told my mother that I was the BEST reader in her class after my mother doubted my ability and expressed that she believed that I was not smart enough.  I still remember that day so vividly.

My leather portfolio, my Moleskine Journal, and my Mont Blanc pens ... A few of my FAVORITE things!

Books were, and still are my best friends.  They speak to me, teach me, and guide me and I don’t have to talk back.  My journals are my best friends also … I speak to them, and they listen, often providing me with the answers that I seek.

There’s power in paper and ink.  I am thankful for what they have provided for me throughout the years.  I am thankful that I am able to purchase them.  I share the ones that have touched me with others who I believe will feel the same.

There was a time when if you wanted to find me, you’d find me curled up with a book in hand.  I am happiest when I am able to curl up with book in hand.  I haven’t been able to do that lately … just read.  I’ve been so busy and tired, and there’s just so much to do around the house that my reading has taken a back seat.  I carry books or a book with me wherever I go … there’s always one in my purse, a few in my backpack, and it makes me happy to see it there.  But lately I just haven’t had the time or energy and it’s affected me in a way that I cannot explain.

I’ve been seeing signs though … signs that have been telling me that I need to get back into reading. I think I’ll heed that advice and go curl up with a good book.

An Ostrich In Disguise

I can't see you ... You can't see me ...

I’m not great when it comes to confrontation.  Hell, I’m not even remotely good at it.  I am one of “those” individuals who, like and ostrich, prefers to bury my head in the sand all the while thinking that, “if I can’t see it, then it can’t see me.”

I know.  I know.  I can’t do this.  I can’t live like this.  Truth be told, I don’t … I eventually come around and confront what ever it is that I need to face and deal with, it just takes me a minute or two to gather my bearings and muster up the courage that I need.  I know that pretending that something isn’t really there doesn’t make it so … I know that it’s there and that if I don’t deal with whatever it is head on that it can, and will rear it’s ugly head and deal with me – forcing me into action.

You would think that I, ER Nurse Extrordinaire, mixed martial artist, black belt, and mother of four, could not possibly be one of “those” people.  Row.?  An ostrich?  A freakin’ scardey cat?  No freakin’ way!  Way … but like I said … only to an extent.

I’m human, okay?  I want to live in a “perfect” world.  I want things to go smoothly and don’t want anyone to suffer.  I don’t like being told bad news, or having to confront issues.   I don’t like the feeling that I get when my body is thrown into the “Fight or Flight” mode.   I function well once over the initial shock and trauma, it just takes me a second, or two.  That flood of adrenaline needs to cycle its way out of my system; my heart needs to stop racing so I can take a deep breath and I’m okay.  But sometimes … sometimes I’m not okay.  Sometimes … I don’t function well at all.

FEAR:  False Evidence Appearing Real.

I fear the unknown, even though I am intelligent enough to know that fear is nothing but a state of mind.  I have a tendency to make things out to be bigger than they really are.  I understand that fear can be paralyzing, causing one to stand still.  Although I do stand still for that split second, it’s, like I said, to gather my bearings and courage, and to take a much needed deep breath so that I can cautiously move forward to deal with the fear/issue/problem that I need to deal with.  Fear stands still, and can be paralyzing.  Caution moves forward, albeit slowly, but you move forward to deal with whatever it is that you, need face.  Fear keeps your head buried in the sand.  Caution allows you to face your fear and start taking action to fix whatever needs to be fixed, or to get over it.  Take action, yes, but this is not the same as reacting.  That knee jerk reaction is not the way to deal with all issues – that sometimes exacerbates the problem.  However, over-analyzing is not the answer either.  I’m an over-analyzer, and I am known to have paralysis from over-analysis.  My husband says that I think too much.  I know that I do, but I can’t help it, always expecting the worst, or making things out to be worse than what they are even before I know what I’m facing.  I let my thoughts get the best of me sometimes … what can I say.

I’m not always like this.  When I really need to take action immediately, I can do it.  It’s the other stuff … the crazy, mundane stuff that I let fester and grow in my head – only getting bigger by the thoughts that I feed it.  And I know that things could be much worse, that there are people out there dealing with bigger, far worse things.

So … I will feel the fear … I will feel it some more … then I will start to move … I will do what I need to do.  I promise to not stand still for too long.  I promise to look fear in the eye and take care of what needs to be done.  But you promise me … you promise me … that if you see me falter … that if you see me stand still for a little too long … that you will stand beside me, grab my hand and help me face that fear and not let me go it alone.  Promise me that you will grab me by the hair if you see me attempting to bury my head in the sand.  Just let me know that I am not alone; that I don’t have to do it by myself, and I, in turn, will do the same for you …

Kinda looks like me, right?

So Spoiled That I Stink

I’m not going to lie. I’m spoiled. Very spoiled. Some say so spoiled that I stink.

I wasn’t always this way, seriously. I was and still am a very independent woman. I work hard. I am smart. I do a lot of things for myself. I just happen to be fortunate enough to have a husband who loves and cherishes me . . . A LOT.

Let’s define spolied. Checking www.dictionary.com it says that spoiled is a verb. In one definition, it says that to spoil is “to become bad, or unfit for use, as food or other perishable substances; become tainted or putrid: Milk spoils if not refrigerated.” Um … yeah … that’s not the right kind of spoiled. In another definition, to spoil is “to damage severely or to harm (something), especially with reference to its excellence, value, usefulness, etc.: The water stain spoiled the painiting. Drought spoiled the corn crop.” Or better yet … definition number three … “to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of (someone) by unwise treatment, excessive indulgence, etc.: to spoil a child by pampering him.” Hmmmm … definition number three would be the most likely be the one to define the type of spoiled that I am, except, really, “to impair, damage, or harm the character or nature of someone?” Hahaha! I’m by far NOT impaired, damaged, nor is my character or nature harmed because of the treatment that I receive. Or am I?

I don’t believe that I’m so spoiled that my functioning is hampered. I do believe and will admit that I am spoiled to an extent. But … BUT … I blame my husband for that. Seriously, if you ask him, he will tell you that he does it out of love. All I have to do is ask or mention it and I will find it done or given to me. I’m serious when I say that on the days that I have to work, all I have to do is wake up. My kids are cared for, dinner is made, whatever I need is done.  He knows what I need, can complete my thoughts and sentences.  Some say that he’s whipped … whatever. If I had to do something, I could. My husband will tell you that he enjoys doing things for me, and I believe him.

Many people ask me how I am able to do the things that I do … workout excessively, work the hours that I do, run different races, etc., etc. Well, for one, my husband is my biggest supporter. You can find him at all of my events and doing whatever it takes to help me succeed. Secondly, my kids are not “little,” they may be young, but not little. Even if they were, even when they were, it really made no difference they came to the events or we found someone to watch them while we were away. Let it be known that my husband was the one who tricked talked me into running my very first full marathon. He is not only my biggest supporter, he is my biggest fan, loudest cheerleader, the best S.A.G. person. He will ride his bike beside me as I run for miles and miles. All this WITHOUT whining complaints. Oh … and if you’re sarcastic enough, you will find a car in your driveway for your birthday, complete with a BIG red bow!  Well, maybe you won’t, but I did … =)

He never gets enough credit. He deserves much more props than he gets. So … to my husband, Chris, THANK YOU! Thank you for allowing me to do what I need to do. Thank you for letting me go to the gym – for knowing that I need to get there or I’d go nuts.  Thank you for taking such great care of all of us, especially the kiddos. You are a great father and husband. Thank you for driving the “Party Bus” in which you graciously pick up my friends and take us to our various runs. Thank you for running when I sign you up for crazy races. Thank you for always looking out for us – finding events, taking the kids to their various practices and games.  Thank you for being our biggest fan, our greatest source of support.  Thank you for taking time off of work. I could never thank you enough for all that you do for us.  For your unselfishness, your undying devotion, your true love for us … There are not enough words, not enough thank yous, to express how grateful I am to have you in my life. You all have to know how much this man does not just for me, but for all of us – Me, Sam, Nate, Noah, Grace, his mom, and even his friends (the ones that he cares about anyway).

Call me spoiled. I really don’t care. It’s something that I am proud to be. I am very blessed to be in the position that I am. My life is better because of Chris.

Chris ... The Culprit. Ultimate Husband & Father. Spoiler.

Together, Let’s Kick Some A$$!!!

I Believe That We All CAN!!!

I heard her talking about me.  She was telling Jeanne, one of the owners of AMAA/Stockton Karate, “I didn’t know who she was, but she was right next to me and she was so encouraging.”  She was a new student at AMAA and Jeanne told her that my name was Row.  Hearing that made my spirits soar high.  She was working out right beside me, and I saw the look of, “Are you freakin’ kidding me?!” written all over her face more than once during our 45 minute workout.  All I told her was that she was doing a great job, to just keep moving, and that she could do it.  Easy.  Nothing to it, just a few words of encouragement.  She had heard me, so my words were not of wasted breath.  Whew!

You CAN, and You WILL ...

I’m one of “those” people … you know one of those obnoxious people who yell in a group exercise class.  It’s even worse if I know your name because I will call you out!  Why?  Because I know how it feels to need encouragement.  I know how it feels to be dead tired, but then to hear someone tell you that you can do it, it allows you to put forth that much more effort to get the work done.  So, yes … If I see you “struggling” in class, I will let you know that you CAN do it, that you only have so many more minutes left.  If I see you in a race, regardless if I know you or not, I will tell you that you’re doing a great job, because you ARE.

Seriously … just by you being in class or running in a race, you ARE doing a fabulous job because you could very well be doing absolutely nothing.  You have won half the battle by choosing to get out and move, and I will commend you for it and help you any way that I can.

Honestly though, I encourage others because it helps me.  I hear myself tell others that they can do it … If I’m telling you

Hear me?

that you can, and I don’t, then it makes me look like an ass  a hypocrite, right?   I can’t look like that.  I refuse to look like that.  When I hear myself give others encouragement and motivation, then I believe it myself and it allows my mind to cancel out what my body is telling it to do which most times is, “Shut the eff up and stop already!”  You see, I believe that your body will do whatever your mind tells it to do even if it’s tired.  I know because I have tricked my body countless times.  I have learned that I can do so much more than what I believe that I can.  It seriously is all in your head …

Others have done it for me … given me encouragement and motivation when I have needed it most.  Some have never met me, others have been spectators with great signs on a marathon course, and some have been my friends training with me … it has helped me every time, and gotten me through to the end.  Because of this, I pay it forward by encouraging others.  Yes, true motivation has to come from your heart, you have to want it, but it never hurts to have a little help from your friends.  So I don’t care if I am the loudest, or the most obnoxious in class … I get heard, people hear me, and they get’er done!  Helping others helps me.  Helping you helps me.  Watching you succeed helps me, it motivates me, it encourages ME …  We have to help each others get thru and push thru … Let’s do it!

Long Winded

One of these days I will learn to not be so long winded when I write. One of these days I will be able to just get to the point without all this going around in circles.  I should learn to conserve my energy, as I try to do while running.  Instead I think “too much,” and have so much to say for someone who really doesn’t have much to say …

One of these days I may surprise you, but I highly doubt it …

My Childhood Memories

Things Reminiscent of My Childhood

Running amok from sun up to sun down.

Teaching myself how to ride a bicycle.  Many thanks to my neighbor, Paige, who let me borrow her bike.

My yellow, banana seat bicycle. “The Rascal.”

Spending summers with my beloved Grandma in San Francisco.

Japanese paper wallets – and stashing as much cash as I could “save” in them.

Pee Chee folders, and newsprint tablet paper.

Reading anything and everything.

Grape Bubble Yum, Pixie Stix, and Jolly Rancher Cherry Sticks!

Mrs. Corpus and her encouragement.  Best & still my favorite teacher EVER!

Cherry Kool Aid and Grape Tang!

Saturday morning cartoons.

Summer vacation from June to September!

Being the fastest girl runner in my classes.

Junior Olympics, running track.

Wondering if I would ever grow tall enough to reach the pedals of a car so I can drive.

No worries.  No cares.  Just being a kid trying to grow up.  My “problems” were so different that what kids have now.  Enjoy your childhood.  Be a kid. Don’t be in such a rush to grow up so fast!

That’s Just Me

I don’t put myself out there very often. I don’t do that well in large social settings, and I prefer the comfort of my own home to that of the outside world. I pretty much keep to myself and don’t bother anyone. I am a self-professed anti-social being, and I’m okay with that. That’s just how I am. That’s just me.

On the outside, I keep the very tall, armored wall I that have built around myself high and locked tight. I’m one of those people that is hard to get to know because I don’t offer much information, nor do I say very much on any given day. I’m far from “quiet.” I am somewhat guarded, and truth be told, I just really don’t have much to say. I’ve been known to give off the impression that I’m “stuck up” or “rude.” That’s just a perception, it so rarely is the case (unless I *really* don’t want to be bothered by you at all, then it’s probably true). Besides, it’s not my perception, it’s theirs or yours and I could really care less.

Truth be told, if I never had to speak or utter another word again, I’d be okay with that. Known to want to say more than what’s necessary at times, my tongue sometimes holds on by a bare thread from all the biting that I do to keep my mouth shut! My family would probably be relieved to hear no more nagging from me. =] If I had to communicate by just writing, I’d so enjoy that. Just remember that I believe that silence speaks volumes at times and that sometimes people need to know when to just STFU!  Seriously, if people could hear themselves and hear how annoying they sound to me – like fingernails down a chalkboard! *shudders*

Why, you might ask? I just happen to be wired that way. I’m not great around a lot of people. I feel claustrophobic and get the feeling that I may suffocate. I don’t care to be the center of attention of anything, I’m okay with being on the periphery of things – just know that I’m there. It’s weird because it’s so opposite from how my father was. My father was so very outgoing, so open and friendly to everyone. I mean EVERYONE!!!  He made and kept friends everywhere, and he could talk for hours! Social butterfly breeds recluse! How ironic is that?!? I loved my Dad. He was a good man and at times I wish that I were more like him. But I am okay with who I am, who I have become.

I have, however, just a little bit of my beloved father within the me. If you are fortunate enough to be one of those who has been able to chip away, break down, or get thru the wall I have built around myself, you will find that I am vulnerable, easy going, funny, smart, a little obnoxious (in a good way), likable, even lovable, and actually human complete with a heart. I love passionately and value my family and friends. It just takes a little while for me to warm up to you, for my icy coldness to thaw. I have a few friends that I have kept and held onto for many years. I will remember your birthday, send you greeting cards with sappy sentiments, buy you things that remind me of you for no reason at all. And I will love you ferociously … Because that’s just me.

– Posted using BlogPress from my RowPhone =]