Find Your Crew

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Life wasn’t meant to be journeyed alone.  I say that because we all need a “crew.”  Whether it is one crew, several different crews, a big crew, or a small crew…everyone in this world deserves one.  Finding a crew sometimes requires being brave and stepping out of your comfort zone, but the destination is worth the journey.

The last time I had my computer open before this post, I was beyond nervous because it was almost time to get up in front of thirteen people I hadn’t known for even 24 hours, plus an instructor to teach a track from the Les Mills Bodyflow release.  Some were already instructors, some had never taught a class in their life (I was one of those).  Though, I walked into that room initially with fourteen strangers, I walked out with fourteen crew members.  I was in a room with fourteen cheerleaders, fourteen people that wanted me to succeed just as bad as I wanted to succeed.  I was only with them for 48 hours, but meeting each and every person left a lasting impact.

Be that person in life who makes a lasting impact in a positive way.  With so much negative, be the good. Remember, we are only here for a moment so try to make the best of every single second you have.  Life is just a vapor.  Find your crew, your cheerleaders, your motivators, your uplifters, and try to be the same for them.

I will post more details about this journey to become a Les Mills BodyFlow instructor, once it is all said and done.  I still have a one hour class to teach, film, and send in for assessment.  Will have several shout-outs to many that encouraged and supported me to take this leap out of my comfort zone because it definitely takes a village along with several “crews” to make things happen.

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Mother’s Day – A note to the happy, the hurting, and the hopeful.

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One happy child, one tired/mad child, and a mom that says “just take the picture quickly.”

Mom – a small word, only three letters but carries so much meaning. “Mom” is a word that at times can trigger stress, love, fear, hope, hopelessness, anger, and many other emotions both positive and negative. In the same way, Mother’s Day can bring on different emotions for such a wide array of people. So many feel emotions on this holiday… the stay-at-home mom (SAHM), the working mom, those who have lost mothers, the mother who has lost a child, the single mother, the mom who’s significant other is TDY or deployed, the person struggling with infertility, and the expecting mom. There are some that are happy, some hurting, while others are hopeful…

To the stay-at-home mom…I remember back when I worked thinking that if I were to be a SAHM mom, I would be the fittest mom, have the cleanest house, cook the best meals, etc. Well, God laughed at me and then put me in a position to be a SAHM. Being a SAHM has been one of the biggest challenges for myself in MANY ways.  I find myself questioning “Am I doing this right? What is right? Am I making the behavior(s) worse? But, she needs to know that no means no, right?” ———  To the working mom…the mom that gets the kid(s) up and out the door and has to hand your child/children to a worker or friend for the day then go on to work a full day only to return home for evening activities, you too are phenomenal. Emotions come with working as well that many stress over, “Am I missing out on my child’s milestones, Is that meltdown going to ruin his/her entire day?” But, don’t dwell on this. Satan has a way of making a person question or doubt circumstances, most prominently when you’re doing a wonderful job. I say this because whether you’re a working mom or a SAHM, you’re doing good momma. Not just good, but you’re doing great because you do what you do out of the love for your family. ALL of it is hard, but it’s the best struggle. I remember thinking, “Why didn’t my mom prepare me for the stresses and struggles?” You know why she didn’t, because she did all of it out of love. You somehow forget the stresses because the blessings override them. So whether you’re a working or SAHM, it’s all hard and you’re all nailing it in the mom world.

Now, to the single mom…YOU ARE AMAZING. Some may know that my mother raised all five of us as a single mom from when I was about Jr. High age. That struggle is REAL. Some of you may have help from family/friends and others may not. You’re probably tired, exhausted, drained, but you keep going because you love your children. Some days, you feel like throwing your hands in the air and giving up, but you don’t because you love your children. You may not feel like anyone sees all that you do, but we know. We know this is hard and find it truly inspiring and unbelievable that you do this on your own. And if your dad is a single dad, IT’S OKAY TO CELEBRATE HIM TODAY TOO. He’s taken on both roles so give him another day as well. Maybe just a hug and high five then telling him thanks will make him smile.😉  So, to the single mom, you are brave and truly amazing to juggle everything that you do every. single. day.

To the mom who’s significant other is TDY or deployed…you may be thinking “Another holiday, alright shake it off now let’s get the kids fed.” It may just be another holiday on your own but you mean so much more to your family than you realize. Heck, you mean so much more to me than you realize because you’re probably my neighbor who I find hope and inspiration from. So even though you may not hear it often, you’re a huge piece that holds the entire puzzle together and we are in awe of your strength and grace while doing so.

To the ones hurting and hopeful… One thing my mom always tells me is that no one can tell you how you should feel because your feelings belong only to you. There are many hurting today. Some because it is their first holiday without their mother, some because they lost a child, and others because they want to be a mother so badly it hurts. Try to remember, we see you, and you are not forgotten. We know this is hard and our hearts hurt for you. While it is hard for many to fully understand the specific situation, just know that with each storm comes a rainbow (that’s from a Dove wrapper 😉) but it is true. Your rainbow is coming and it may take longer than others but it will show. Rest in knowing that while everything seems to be falling apart, God is constant.  He’s here and he knows your heart.  I know it may not fix the sadness or despair, but remember your rainbow is coming and it’s okay to hurt.

Happy mother’s day and hope everyone’s day is filled with rainbows and if not today, try to remain hopeful that your rainbow is coming.  I specifically want to say…Happy mother’s day to my wonderful, courageous, strong mother.  Through all the struggles and difficulties, she continued to cling on to her faith and teach all five kids (and now grandchildren) that when everything seems to be falling apart, GOD IS STILL STANDING.

“A woman who honors the Lord deserves to be praised.” — Proverbs 31:30

Seven Simple Words

Lately, life has felt like a whirlwind.  The winds have seemed to pick up lately and haven’t let up in awhile.  There’s tee ball practice, tee ball games, ballet, Awanas, Church, Pre K drop off/pick up, throw in an extra play date, activity, doctor’s appointment, or parent teacher conference, and the days are booked solid.   There are so many that are much busier with more kids, more activities, health issues, etc…  There just always seems to be something, leaving little down time and it can make life seem stressful.  Our stress tends to wear on others.  Others feel it.  Others sense it.  And kids, they are not an exception to this.  Tonight, my four-year-old said seven simple words that really made me think.  She didn’t put much thought into them.  Actually, she spoke them very quickly while running through our somewhat small kitchen as her and MC did their usual evening laps through the living room and kitchen.  I’m constantly asking them to get out of the kitchen when I’m in there because there’s just not a lot of extra room for kids running through while cleaning up.  Anyways, as she ran by these seven words that I keep hearing over and over again in my head were “Mommy, could you smile just a little?”  So simple, “Mommy, could you smile just a little?”  She felt it, she felt my stress, she felt my anxiety and all she wanted was a little smile.  A little smile to tell her that everything was okay.  A little smile to tell her that our home is her safe place.  A little smile to remind her that she’s loved.  That’s all she needed was just a little smile.

See Through The Mess

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I feel like life compares well to running a race.  You have good days, you have bad days, you have pain, hurt, hills to conquer, speed work, recovery days, days where it really feels great, days where you’re dragging, etc.  In life, you have some people that you feel are running with you and others you feel that you’re running against.  You see smiling, happy faces while scrolling along on social media.  You think to yourself that everyone must have it together, except me.  Has it been one of those months where the pace picked up and never let up?  Everywhere you turn around there’s a sink of dirty dishes, another load of laundry to fold or clean, floors to be vacuumed, a job to get to, homework to finish, a crying child, a bottom to be wiped, a course to complete, toys to pick up, and just when you think you’re caught up there’s an empty toilet paper roll in the bathroom to be replaced?  I feel like this has been the past month, where I just can’t catch up.  Tonight, was finally a night where I had to take a step back and remind myself what matters.

So tonight…it happened.  I gave into behavior that I KNEW I shouldn’t give in to (on more than one occasion).  I let my 20 month old play me like a fiddle.  It happened, has happened before, and will probably happen again.  What’s frustrating is that I know better than this.  I have worked under behavior specialists, have been taught the correct way to deal with specific behaviors, and I GAVE IN.  I sat there with a screaming, flailing child that had finally calmed because I gave in.  Why did I give in?  Because, I was in public.  I knew I shouldn’t give in to my child, but we were in a restaurant and I felt all eyes on me. Some of those eyes may never understand, other eyes that completely understand.  And, you know what?  What matters at the end of the day is not “those” eyes, my self doubt because I know better, the people inconvenienced, the fact that a family dinner out (that our 4 year old wanted so badly) was ruined… but, what matters is the love that still exists beyond the mess.

My 20 month old is a very strong willed child.  She is hilarious, bubbly, entertaining, and completely full of personality but is very strong willed.  Before she went to bed tonight, I told her that she may be a stinker but I still love her.  She then took her little hand, put it to her mouth and blew me a kiss.  THIS.  THIS RIGHT HERE IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO.

The picture above is a photograph taken after my 20 month old had a complete meltdown over something I could not explain to her.  As you can see, we are both exhausted. Honestly, I can’t remember at this point what the meltdown was even over.  It could have even been over shoes she wanted to wear that were way too small.  I picked her up and she laid on me while trying to calm.  I just held and squeezed her.  I took this picture because it is rare for her to just lay on me for this long.  I noticed all the mess in the picture of bright toys, stuff laying around, etc. I wanted so bad to move all the toys so I could get that sweet, perfect, cute picture then realized that’s not what matters.  What matters in the picture is the love shared, seeing through the mess.  Even after tantrums, screaming, flailing, falling to the ground, I still love this child.  You know what’s even crazier?  God feels the exact same way about us. Every one of us that exists in this world is a child of God.  YOU are a child of God and were made uniquely in His eyes.  No matter where we have been, what we have done, He loves US.  We are His child created in His eyes and HE LOVES US despite the downfalls. He sees us through the mess.

 

 

George Washington Parkway Classic 10 Mile Run

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And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.  For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

I did not feel physically or mentally ready for this race.  I just wasn’t feeling the race.  My friend (Jo) and I were talking later about how at the start it still hadn’t clicked that we were about to run 10 miles.  Following workouts, I’m usually most sore on day 2.  Well, this was day 2 following a new BodyPump release at the gym and I was already hurting BEFORE the race.  So…there’s my pity party….  No PR was set on this race, my final time was 1:24:49.  On to the race…

GW Parkway Classic 10 Mile Run was VERY organized and a beautiful, scenic run.  It began at Mount Vernon and ended in Old Town Alexandria.  You run over hill, after hill, after hill while elevation increases for first 5 miles down GW Parkway (nice and spacious because they closed all 4 lanes).  After you hit mile 6 it is a decline for about a mile…which I needed at that point.  There is one more hill at mile 9 (because I guess they think that’s cute…haha).  For those not familiar with the area, it runs along the Potomac River so it really is a beautiful, scenic view.  If you have a bag to check, you check the bag at Mount Vernon (Start) then, they truck them all down to Old Town (Finish).  Price included shirt, medal, and beer at the end.  Upon arriving at the finish line, you were handed a free egg taco from District Taco which was a pleasant little surprise.  They had live music, a bouncy castle, kids, dogs, and families everywhere.  There was no wait for beer, another plus.  There was also a kids’ run and 5k attached to this race so nice to have several options.  Overall, beautiful, scenic, well organized, great race to run!

Following the race, my friend and I walked (well…limped..because we are officially old) to a quaint little restaurant called Magnolia’s on King Street.  If you do run this race, make reservations in advance because most places required one.  Since there were only two of us, we got lucky and got the last seat in the bar area at Magnolia’s.  Great food, drinks, and wonderful customer service!

I will do a separate post on Mount Vernon and Old Town at some point because they just deserve their own post!  So much to see and do!  But, if you’re visiting and a runner this is a great race if it times out well for you.  You can run the race then see all the history that Old Town has to offer and even Uber or Lyft back to Mount Vernon to tour the estate and museum on the estate.

Thanks for reading and hope your next run is better than the last!

April: Month of the Military Child

 

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(PC: You + Alex Photography)

The military child.

When you hear those three words many things might come to mind…possibly the kid that showed up to school in the middle of the school year, the child you never got to know because they moved right after school started, the homeschooled kid you met at church that took awhile to open up to you.  These children possess so much more than what some may realize.  They are a definition of sacrifice, determination, strength, courage, resiliency….. and they possess all of this at the ripe young age of baby, toddler, child, kid, teenager.  They didn’t ask for this life but were given it.  Why?  Because, God chose them. He knew they had the ability to live the military life and not falter but only become stronger.

As a parent, many would never imagine having to explain to your child that they will not be having ballet because of a government shutdown.  But, you tell them there’s no ballet and they may become upset but they bounce right back.  The military child lives a life of constantly having to adjust to outcomes and decisions of others, and they are resilient. Military children are constantly saying goodbyes to neighbors, friends, teachers, grandparents, cousins, parents, aunts, uncles, (the list goes on) whether they are moving or because a visit has ended, and they do this over and over and over and over again.  As parents, you wait, because you know the tears are coming.  You know once again, you will try to explain why you have to say goodbye or why someone has to leave.  Just the other day, I found myself asking one of Charli’s best buddy’s mom how long they will be stationed here while crossing my fingers that they would be here long enough to start Kindergarten together.

You try not to be the helicopter parent but find yourself hovering at times because you anticipate the hurt and just wish the next tear would be the last.  After seeing your child sacrifice so much, you just want your child to get a “win” in life.  I was just explaining to Charli the other day that because she cries, does not mean she isn’t brave.  Military children are some of the bravest kids that I have met in my entire life.  I can only hope that one day, I have an ounce of their bravery in myself.  Many (including myself) will never understand the life of a military child.  But, a few things I do know about the military child is that through every transition, every goodbye, every tear cried, every question without a clear answer…they are resilient.  They are strong.  They are courageous.  They are simply exceptional.

***My prayer is that my kids were picked to live this life so that as many people in this world can see His love through them.  I pray that as they grow and mature, they use each and every relationship to plant a seed of faith.  That with transition after transition after transition they not grow weary but stay strong because the Lord provided them the strength.***

Please read here why the dandelion is the flower of the military child.

Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Race

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This race is on the list of  25 Iconic American Races That Aren’t Marathons by Runner’s World.  If you get selected, run this race!  It is a lottery so you aren’t guaranteed a spot but definitely worth trying.  This year, it was FREEZING and cherry blossoms hit peak bloom the day before the race.  Luckily, the blossoms survived the freeze and we got to run under an umbrella of beautiful cherry blossoms!  I was pretty proud to set a PR for this race at 1:23:48!

Some tips for running this race:

  1. Pay extra to get medal — This race is a lottery, you are not guaranteed entry.  The medal cost an additional fee, but I recommend paying fee because I was devastated when I realized my husband didn’t purchase us a medal after finishing the race.  Although, I was told you can go online and purchase one, which I am totally going to do!
  2. Dress — Check weather and dress appropriately!  It was SO cold!  I wore a vest with pockets, which was perfect because I ended up sticking my gloves and ear warmer in my zip up pockets around mile 6 or 7 instead of just tossing them along the way.
  3. Take pictures — Around mile 7, I struggled a little to get my phone out and take a picture, but it was SO worth it!  Remember, that umbrella of cherry blossoms I spoke previously about? That’s when I took my pictures.  This race starts and ends at Washington Monument so it’s a perfect area for a photo op!
  4. Treat yo self — Go treat yourself to brunch afterwards!  We got out of DC and made our way back closer to home in Springfield where we went to Maggiano’s, who has an amazing brunch menu.  In additon to our food, we got the perfect post run brunch trifecta — coffee, water, and a $2 mimosas.
  5. Parking — Get on Spothero to reserve parking place prior to race.  We left Ft. Belvoir around 0600 and first wave started at 0730. We had plenty of time to park, walk to start, check bag, use restroom, take a few pictures, then get to our wave with a little time to spare without feeling rushed.

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Thanks for reading!  This was our second race on the list of 25 Iconic American Races That Aren’t Marathons with the other being the Army Ten Miler.  It was definitely another packed race, but fun!  Alright, my little just brought me “The Giving Tree” to read to her so farewell until next post!