Saturday, November 5, 2011

I'm no rock star

Last month I was sewing a princess dress for Halloween for my 3-year-old daughter and while sewing I thought, "I am only kind of good at a lot of things."  But it wasn't in a self-pity kind of way.  It was merely an observation that has lead to other thoughts and, now, to this post.  My thoughts are kind of all over the place and that is how I am writing this post...if you feel nauseated from the sudden movement at any time, step away from the computer and try again later.  I promise there's a point (or several :) ) in here.

My mom tried to teach me to sew several times while I was growing up.  I distinctly remember one conversation with her:
Mom (trying to convince me why I should learn to sew): What about when you have kids?  You might want to sew things for your kids.
Me: Nope, I'll just buy everything.
Mom: But what if you don't have a lot of money and you need clothes for your kids?
Me: That's why they have thrift stores.  Mom, I am NEVER going to want to learn how to sew.  Never.

Ugh.  If only I could slap some sense into my teenage self.  I asked my hubs to buy me a sewing machine for Christmas a few years back.  Turns out I have this creative gene I never knew about until I had my own home and children.  I feel a deep NEED to create these days.  And so my sewing lessons from my patient mom (who probably smirks/smiles when I call her with a sewing-related question) have to be over the phone or via Skype now that we live so far from each other.  But sew I do, darn it!  I've made curtains, comforters for my kid's beds, Halloween costumes, several baby blankets, hair clip holders...and I'm wingin' it every time.  Don't give me a pattern because I don't know what the heck those technical sewing terms are.

Back to my little girl's Halloween costume this year.  I was trying to do gathered, puffy sleeves for her dress AND a gathered skirt.  I'd never gathered before.  I was slightly  But I found a good online tutorial and went to work.  It was while I had everything pinned (we're talking 100 or more pins, people; they were everywhere!) and began to sew with no idea how it would look when I turned it right-side-out that I had the thought I mentioned above: "I am only kind of good at a lot of things."

I run all sorts of races, but I'll never win a single one.  I put my whole heart into this motherhood business, but I still lose my temper or am lazy sometimes.  I could be a better wife.  I like to sew, but heck if I've ever learned to follow a pattern.  I love to large groups or choirs.  I like to speak in public, but I sure can't do it without crazy nerves every time.

These thoughts weren't bringing me down.  I was thinking about all of the things I love to do and feeling darn proud that even though I am not a rock star at any of it, I still love doing each thing and it's not going to stop me from trying to do my best and also trying new things.

My OBGYN recently told me about a 15-year-old girl who is rocking the cross country world in our region right now.  She may very well take State even though this is her first year running.  See, she's a twin and she and her twin sister were really into basketball.  Her twin is a rock star basketball player who is already being recruited and this girl just never was as good, so to try and step out of her sister's shadow, she thought she'd try running. Now she's getting just as much, or even more, attention in the running world than her sister is in the basketball world.  What if she'd never tried?  Sister obviously has some natural gift that will only get better as she works at it.

I guess what I am trying to say is that just because we are not amazing at something doesn't mean we shouldn't give it a shot.  I don't even read music, but you better believe I'm going to learn to play the piano someday.  I might even take some voice lessons.  I don't have any illusions that I'll be a concert pianist or soloist, but the point is that I don't care.  I'll be thrilled to play the piano while my kids sing in church someday.  I'll probably cry.  I do that a lot after I accomplish something I never imagined myself doing - putting sleeves on my son's soldier costume last year (sleeves are very counter-intuitive for me), running a stinking marathon, putting gathered, puffy sleeves on the bodice of a 3-year-old's dress (yep, for real tears...I couldn't help it), finishing a triathlon when I can hardly swim, landing the best husband and baby daddy, watching my kids play together and seeing what great little people they are.

My life and my heart feel full even though I will likely never do anything to draw the attention of the world.  I may not be a rock star, but I try to rock the talents I have, develop new talents, and do my best.  And that's totally enough.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

You just never know....

There was a girl I kind of knew in college who unknowingly taught me a profound lesson.

I had her pointed out out to me just once, but I would hear things about her every now and again from my aunt's family who knew her well and loved her.  I would occasionally see her on campus and think, 'Oh yeah, that's _________.'  I never said hello because she didn't know who I was.  You know those kind of acquaintances?

One day my aunt told me that this girl's father had committed suicide.  I was heartsick for her and her family.  I just couldn't imagine the devastation.  I knew that it might be strange for me to reach out to her since she didn't know me, but I thought about her so much during that time. I cried for her and I prayed for her.  Just a few days after I heard the news, I was sitting outside on campus and I happened to look up and see her, walking by herself, a midst a sea of students going to their next class.  As I watched her walk, it struck me that it was likely NO ONE who was walking near her at that moment knew of the tragedy she was dealing with.  She didn't look especially depressed and I thought that if I didn't know this bit of information about her, I would see her and think that nothing was wrong.

It was one of those very profound life lesson moments I will never forget.  I looked at the people walking around her and thought how little we know about the people we pass by, and even interact with, every day.  What was that guy struggling with?  What was that girl's story? What were the struggles some of my friends were experiencing that I knew nothing about?  Suddenly I felt so much love for all of the people I was looking at and I thought about judgment and how we should always be trying to lift one another because we just never know their private struggle.

There is a little quote I have seen floating around on Facebook recently that I love, and it actually prompted  this post:
Everyone.  E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E.  The battles vary in size and strength, but make no mistake that everyone has their own private battle.  Let's indeed be kind and treat others like they are enough. Make their battle a little easier; offer our strength, withhold our judgment, follow any good thought to lift and be kind.  We likely don't know what their hard battle is or how something we do or say will lift them out of their battle, if even for a moment, or help them to finally claim victory and move on to the next battle, feeling a little stronger. 

Lift and love.  Kindness.  Withholding judgment.  I need to work on all of it.  That's what I am thinking about today.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I got a nudge recently to post on this blog again, and ever since I have been trying to figure out why it is that I stopped.  Busy?  Sure.  Always.  But I think it's because I am not a natural advice-giver and I sure don't have everything figured out.  So maybe I feel slightly uncomfortable coming off like I do.  I usually only give advice to people I am really close to or those who ask for it.  But then I often end with, "But I don't really know..." or "that's just what I think" because everyone has their own set of trials and circumstances.  So I hope you will take that disclaimer into account as I settle in and go forward with this blog.  I make no promises of frequency, but I do think I want to be in this for the long haul.  I just re-read my previous posts and regained the passion for the subject matter.

So this is a post I had in my head to do at the beginning of the summer, but never got around to.

I have cellulite on my thighs.  I have never been a fan of the cellulite on my thighs.  I have always been jealous of the women who have thin, non-cellulite thighs.  I have done my best to shield the world of the cellulite on my thighs.  This means that for years I wore shorts with all of my bathing suits.  I thought that the cute long tankinis with shorts were my answer when they came out...the coverage of a one piece that looks cute with shorts!  I remember the devastation that came in the dressing room when I tried one on because I had been so excited about it.  Sadly, those shorts did not cover the (say it with me) cellulite on my thighs.  So I was always on the hunt for a one-piece bathing suit that would match whatever long-enough board shorts I could find.

Note, however, that I used the words WORE and WAS in the above paragraph.  Meaning, the cellulite on my thighs coverage is past-tense.  I'll explain why.

I think bodies are pretty rad.  They do AMAZING things for us every day.  My body has healed itself of sickness, carried 3 children to term, is currently nurturing and growing another human as I type this, been through a miscarriage, put up with the strain of a marathon and other races without giving out on me, allows me to experience and appreciate nature, go hiking, taste wonderful food, kiss and snuggle my husband and children daily, exercise, kneel to pray, clean my home... And yet, as I talked about in my mirror post, I have a hard time not focusing on the negative when I look at my body.

In the past 4 years I have run my booty off and have come to the realization that the cellulite is with me for the long haul.  But last year I was thinking about how great my body really was and how healthy I felt and thought, 'Forget it! I am not covering up my thighs anymore.  My body is what it is and I think it's pretty amazing.  So I have cellulite?  So I've got some curvy legs and my thighs will never NOT touch?'  I just felt the need to celebrate my body by not wearing shorts with my swimsuits anymore.  Make sense?  No?  Well, it was a very liberating moment for me and the thoughts I had totally correlated with this decision in my mind.

The first time I went to the pool after making this decision, I was having hot flashes because I was freaked out about not having the safety of the shorts.  My heart was beating really fast.  I was about to ditch a 12-year or more safety net.  I was with my hubby and kids.  I'd told the hubs that I was going swimming sans shorts and he assured me of his love for my body and that I didn't need them.  I think I may have packed a pair just in case it was too hard for me.  But I did it.  And it was important for me.  I don't really care what anyone was or was not thinking, this was just for me.  I wanted to tell my body THANK YOU and I love everything about you.

I think we need to spend a LOT less time focusing on what we want to change about how we look.  I know there are many of you who are already fabulous at this, but I also know there are so many who struggle.  Sure, exercise and healthy habits are good and important.  But it's not about how we look in a bathing suit or the numbers on a's about how we FEEL.  It's about being comfortable in our skin.  It's about focusing on how incredible these bodies are that we've been given.  I think it's about celebrating all shapes and sizes. And, yes, even cellulite. I love the Dove Beauty Campaign.  If you haven't seen this Dove Evolution video, you should watch it.  Or if you have seen it, you should watch it again.  It's no secret that our culture celebrates mythical beauty and thinness (is that a word? it didn't spell check on me, so I guess it is)...mythical because so much of what we see is airbrushed or made over.  Let's change our own minds and in turn maybe we can change our culture.  Heaven knows I want it to be different for my 3-year-old daughter than it has been for me.  I love her not-so-little belly now and I'll love it just as much if she still has it in 12 years.  She's so beautiful and perfect to me and I want her to feel that about herself always.

Maybe you don't want, or need, to bag the shorts when you go swimming, but find some way to celebrate the miracle and beauty that is YOUR body!  Because it IS beautiful and miraculous.  It is enough.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Okay, I apologize that all of my posts seem to have something to do with running or races. I am a mom to three little ones ages 4 (almost 5!) and under. I have little time aside from the times that I run to ponder and think deep thoughts. With that said....

My run last week reminded me of a run I had last year at this time. Flowers and trees are at various stages of blooming right now; some trees are filled with pink and white blossoms while others are still bare. Last year in late March/early April I was just starting to run again after giving birth at the end of January. I was very out of shape and each run was a struggle. This particular day I was nearly in tears and frustrated; frustrated with the hills, frustrated with my jiggly body, frustrated with the struggle, frustrated that I had foolishly signed myself up for races so soon after having a baby so that I HAD to run....frustrated. There was probably some postpartum depression/baby blues going on as well.

I was running up a big hill and tears were stinging the corners of my eyes when I saw a beautiful bush with purple blooms. I looked at the bush and thought, "Why can't I be like that right now?!" Why can't I be back in the shape I once was, with my body less jiggly, my hormones under full self at my very best. I looked at some bushes close by that had buds ready to burst. I then expanded my view, taking in all of the landscape around me. I live in the Evergreen State, so there were majestic trees that had kept their green splendor year-round. There were other trees that had nothing on them yet, but I knew that within a few short weeks they would be filled with new leaves or blossoms; even without their leaves, they still added to the beauty. I found solace in this scene of nature around me. I felt more comfortable with my stage of "blooming" and knew that I needed to love the stage I was in and be patient with myself.

We are like the beauty that surrounds us on earth. We have our seasons, our peaks and valleys, and are at various stages of blooming. Sometimes I feel like the bare tree and know that I need to both be patient and do some work to fill my branches. Sometimes I feel like I am on the verge of being great, much like the lilac tree I can see out my front window as I type this; in a few weeks it will be filled with fragrant purple blossoms. Do you ever feel that way? Like there is greatness and goodness inside of you just waiting for its time or opportunity? Sometimes I feel like the gorgeous cherry trees I see all over town with beautiful blossoms. And every now and again I go through a stage where I feel like the constant evergreen tree.

Whatever your stage, whatever your state of yourself. You add to the beauty of life's landscape. Every season has its beauty.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Looking Outside of Ourselves

Last Wednesday I decided to pack my two younger kids into the jogging stroller while my oldest was at our co-op preschool. I haven't really used this stroller since my third babe was born since it's a two-seater and we are over capacity. I started out my run and was immediately dying! A heavy stroller plus two chubba toddlers=pain for the momma. I've mentioned that my run starts with tons of hills...yeah, it's rough. But I got to the flatter part of the run and because of how hard the beginning was I suddenly felt so much stronger. It made me think about some of my first races. I was always training with the jogging stroller in those days. When the time came for my first race and I didn't have the stroller to push, I felt so good! My run seemed like a total breeze.

All of this got me thinking about trials. I am of the belief that when we are in the midst of trials, the very best thing we can do for ourselves is to find someone else to focus on/carry/push. But it's sometimes so hard to do, right? We get so caught up in how hard things are for us and forget to look around. BUT if we do then we will find that our own trial seems so much easier. Not that their trial is necessarily more difficult than ours, but that the act of looking outside of ourselves can somehow miraculously lighten our own load.

Here's a little personal story about that:

When I was 19 years old and in college, I was in a leadership position for my church. The college that I went to was Ricks College in Rexburg, ID. It was awesome, but that's beside the point. It was also super cold and snowy and dreary come February, which is exactly the point of this story. I was told when I was called to this position that the ladies in my care would suddenly be having a lot of problems come February; mostly because of the dreary weather, but that they would feel very sincerely distraught. I was told to just be aware of that and to help them put their problems in perspective. Well, come February I felt like the door to my shared bedroom was a revolving door of issues. Poor women, all struggling with something different. I wanted so much to help them and would think about what I could say or do to pull them out of their depression. Then I remembered the February warning and realized that what everyone (myself included) needed was to SERVE. So we planned activities around this idea and got several of the ladies involved in adopting a grandparent at the local nursing center. I immediately noticed a difference. I gave that advice individually to some of those who were really struggling - find someone to serve. I no longer had knocks or notes on my door constantly...just a trickle. I shouldn't have been surprised by the dramatic difference, but I was.

I wish that I remembered to do this more often; sometimes it takes me a while. Sometimes I spend several weeks in Poor Me Land before I pull my head out and decide to reach out. There is something miraculous about service. It gives you enough of a boost to pull you out of sadness. I really believe in the power of service!

If you feel so inclined, share a time when service has worked to help you through a tough time.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


So I have this really weird habit - I try to make my husband apologize if he is mean to me in my dreams. Do you ever have those kinds of dreams that are so real that you wake up feeling all of the emotions you were feeling in the dream? I do. And if those emotions are hurt or anger caused by the Hubs wanting to marry someone else or ignoring me when I am trying to pour my heart out, then I will call him at work and tell him how horrible he was in my dream the previous night. And then I am silent, waiting for the apology I totally feel like I deserve. And he is silent, then aghast, that I really want him to apologize for something he didn't do. It's become a big joke between us, but that doesn't mean that I don't still make those phone calls. I'm a real piece of work, I know.

Sometimes we take offense that is really imagined because we jump to conclusions or take a position without having all of the information. Have you ever done this? Heard one little comment or bit of information and become frustrated, irate, hurt, offended? Please tell me I'm not the only one.

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I have been the one to unknowingly cause offense and realized that I recently have felt hurt by something without having all of the information. I want to be better about that. I think that having enough information is the key! There are few people in the world who intend to hurt others, so if we start down the road of hurt and offense, why not take the time to see if that road really needs to be traveled? Get more information, ask some questions, and make your choice. Because it is a choice. Most of the time (all of the time?), I think, that road could be totally bypassed if we had more information. Let's travel the road of love and understanding instead.

*I would like to note that my husband is the opposite of that man who occasionally haunts my dreams - I guess that's why it is so distressing. In real life he is kind, faithful, and a good listener. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011


Pardon my absence. I wasn't feeling inspired or inspiring and I don't want to post just to post. So today I'll do a combination post/forum question.

Last summer I ran in the Rock n' Roll Seattle half marathon. It was the biggest race I had ever been a part of - 30,000+ people! When I signed up I had to give my estimated pace/finish time so that they could put me into a specific corral. I was about 5 months post-baby and hadn't trained much, but decided to write down the time I'd done in my first half, just to push myself. Well, race morning was crazy. I had to walk/jog about two miles to get to the start line and then stood in an eternal line of people for the Honey Bucket (that's NW speak for port-a-potty). I saw the sea of runners moving as I stood in that line and thought, "Oh well, I'll miss my corral. It probably doesn't matter much anyway."

Well, I finished my business, ran to the start line, and saw that my corral would be the next group through...I'd made it after all! I climbed a little gate while a man yelled at me because I wasn't supposed to do that and grouped myself with my people - the people who said that they could finish a half in 2 hours and 10 minutes. Turns out my decision to be ambitious about my time was mostly a good one; I ran much faster than I would have because the people around me were running at a good pace. So even though I was struggling a bit, I kept running because slowing down would slow others down to get around me (the course was packed).

Then we got to the last mile and I was done. That's a problem when you still have a mile left. Darn me for not training more! I was so frustrated. I just couldn't get a good, sustainable pace. And when I stopped my legs would severely cramp. Stopping was no good, running was no good. It was rough. But no matter how fast or slow, I was still surrounded by people who were inspiring me to give a little more. I also saw others who were struggling like me. I said to a few runners, "Oh my gosh, when is this thing going to be over?!" "WHERE is the freaking finish line?!" I wanted someone to commiserate with; misery loves company. It felt like that last mile was really 2 or 3, but then I heard the crowd of people at the finish line which gave me the boost I needed. I was in tears and in pain. But finish I did...7 minutes behind my projected time, mostly because of that final, excruciating mile.

We are never really alone in life. We are surrounded by millions of people who are moving in the same the ultimate finish line. I think it is so important who we surround ourselves with. I think it's important to have friends and acquaintances who inspire us to be our best. I think it's important to take our eyes off of the finish sometimes and see who might be struggling so that we can help. I think it's important to set our sights high, to put ourselves in an ambitious corral, because often we can do more than we think. However, if I had put myself in a corral with people projected to finish an hour faster than I thought I could, I would have been discouraged and depressed the entire race. So we should also know our limitations in certain areas and be comfortable with them. I think it's important to be proud of your efforts even when you fall short; it took me several weeks to be okay that I finished so much slower than I'd wanted to...I wish that I hadn't wasted that time. My best is good enough, and my best is different in different times and different situations.

Fab Forum Friday Question:

What have you learned from times in your life when you've been placed in, or chosen to be in, an ambitious "corral"?