mommyverbs

Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Stop. — Talking About It and Do It.

I talked about wanting to get a tattoo for 10 years.

For 10 years, this was on my To Do list.

For 10 years, I thought about what I would get and where I would get it.

For 10 years, I would think about when would be a good time.

For 10 years, I was afraid of how it would hurt or mostly what other people might think.

But it wasn’t until my best friend/partner/hubby looked at me and very lovingly and sincerely said with a smile,

“Either do it, or stop talking about it.”

That is when I decided that 10 years is a really long time to be talking about doing something.

And a new mantra was born.

But even on the morning of my appointment, as a friend and I entered the place, I was still unsure. I wanted the experience of getting a tattoo. I can’t explain it. Just something I have always wanted to do. And there are some things that you have to do at a certain time in your life. Like move to Huntington Beach, California, surf during the day and work in a restaurant at night. Or live in NYC for a few months during college. I didn’t do those things.

I went to college just a few miles from my house. I lived at home freshman year. I came home whenever I wanted to. I swore I would get a job far away. I applied to NY city schools and schools in California and near the beach. And then… I was offered a job right back in my hometown. That was it. No surfing. No Broadway. I did what was expected.

Which is fine, because I love where I am. I love my life. And by love, I mean, LOVE. I love my family and my career and my world. But there are still things that I want and need to do. The tattoo was one of those things.

No matter how you feel about tattoos, I’m sure that there is something that you have been talking about doing. Something you have been talking about doing for a long time.

Going some place. Running some race. Taking some chance.

Maybe we shouldn’t walk around so worried about the “what ifs” and the “what will they thinks” and the “I wish I hads” and “when the time is right” and “when I have more money” or “when I retire” or “when the kids grow up” and instead….

just… do. Do the thing that you have been wanting to do.

I’m not saying go crazy here. I’m not saying quit your job or jump out of an airplane without a parachute.

I think if you are really listening to your heart, that thing you want to do, makes sense.

So, of course, consider the consequences. Then make a plan. Do it wisely. But actually do it.

Stop making excuses. Stop being afraid. Stop worrying. Stop waiting.

Either do it. Or stop talking about it.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Today’s Action Challenge: What have you been talking about doing forever?

Is it taking a trip to a special place with a special loved one? Is it writing a book or an article? Is it taking a class or learning a new skill?

Whatever it is that you have spent so much time thinking and talking about…

What would it look like, if you just did it?

Right now, write down the thing, the trip, the race, the project that you have been talking about.

Then, write down three, just three steps you can take that gets you closer to action.

Don’t just put IT on your bucket list for some day.

Today. Make a plan of action. Today.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

do it or stop

And know that lessons sometimes come from some of the least expected places.

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Pause. — To find your pause. Before you hit play again.

I told you about the little guy across the street who hasn’t started school yet.

How in the afternoon, he comes outside to wait for the bus. Sometimes for an entire hour. How he sits and waits.

wait

How he waits patiently with wondrous anticipation for the big yellow school bus to bring some of his favorite people home.  How he holds that space for them. Sitting on the hill. Playing in the grass. Watching the bugs. Soaking up the sun. How he doesn’t miss a thing.

How when he hears the loud mufflers of that yellow bus come up over the hill and down around the corner, he jumps up and squeals for them and runs to meet and greet them. How he can’t wait to hear about their day. How’s he’s been looking forward to their arrival all day.

How he held this space for them.

This space in his day. This space in his life. This space in his attention and excitement.

Remember?

Well, this is what happens next:

reconnect

These two…

These two pause to talk to each other from the safety of their yards, yelling across the neighborhood street.

In the cutest four year old voice, he always asks, “How was your day?” And unlike many of us, I think he really, really listens to the answer.

X sits down in his driveway and one by one pulls out artifacts from his day at school.

X holds up papers of numbers he added, letters he wrote, books he authored, and pictures he drew and colored.

While his friend jumps up and down and paces back and forth, genuinely excited to hear about his buddy X’s school day.

Life is busy. Even when you are four and five. They are always off to the next adventure. Ready for the next game. On to the next toy.

But in their own way, this is how they catch up with each other.

They’ve been apart all day and inevitably this scene is followed quickly by “Can he come over to play? Can I go over to his house to play?”

But until that happens, they pause. They take the time to reconnect and catch up.

They hit the pause button. Before they hit play.

Y, on the hand, and as per usual, is completely different.

When she comes home, she turns into a pause button. An exhausted, slightly grumpy, very hungry pause button on the couch.

She needs, no, …craves…, some down time.

She needs a snack. She needs some quiet. She needs some zone-out time on the couch or in her room.

She has to pause to reconnect with herself. She needs to just catch up with her own thoughts.

She pours so much into her day, her friends, her work, pleasing her teachers, keeping up with everyone and everything.

She needs … pause.

Before she can reconnect and catch up with others. Before she comes asking to call this friend or ride her bike to that friend’s house.

She has to pause to find her pause button. Before she hits play.

Dear Tired Working Mommas: Transitions are hard sometimes. Coming home from school or work.

Really trying to leave work when we leave work.

Taking off our work costumes, like Superman, to reveal the true superhero Momma on the inside.

Even Superman had to pause to find a phone booth to change in.

Dear Tired Working Mommas: What if we all did that?

What if we all stopped, paused, for a few minutes and took some time to reconnect?

Hit the pause button on life as we come through the door.

Whatever our pause button looks like. If we just pause and take what we need, before we hit play again.

It might look like X’s pause button: Talk. Share. Show. Vent. Connect. Reconnect. Catch up. Ask. Listen.

Or maybe it looks like Y’s pause button: Hide. Sit. Still. Quiet. Change. Recharge. Be.

Either way, if we pause to find our pause in our transitions home, I think we might find it refreshing.

Hit the pause button on dinner and clutter. Hit the pause button on practice and homework. Hit the pause button on all that is … next.

And really focus on reconnecting. Really focus on catching up.

If we pause to find our pause in our transitions home, I think we might find it invigorating.

Hit the pause button on the venting. Hit the pause button on the rushing. Hit the pause button on the nagging or reminding.

If we pause to find our pause in our transitions home, I think we might find it more peaceful.

Dear Tired Working Mommas:

Transitioning from work or school to home can be hard sometimes. Taking off one hat, one suit, one job to swap with another hat, or suit, or job seems easy.

But it is hard sometimes.

Maybe we need to hit the pause button more.

Whatever our pause button looks like, let’s find it. Take it. Use it.

If it is a few minutes in the car in the driveway, finishing listening to that song, before anyone notices that you are home.

If it is a quick trip up the stairs to take off the skirt and heels to trade for the sweats and sneakers.

If it is a hug and a kiss with our partner or a minute to sit on the couch with the grumpy-ish Y.

Whatever it is.

Dear Tired Working Mommas: Pause to find your pause.

Transitions are hard sometimes. Leaving work when we leave work is easier said than done some days.

So, look for your phone booth. Make the change.

Pause to find your pause button.

Before you hit play again.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

Button-Pause-icon

Today’s Challenge: Pause to find your pause button.

What do you need when you need to transition?

Do you need quiet? Do you need interaction?

Do you need music or a time to sit with a book?

What does your pause button look like?

What’s in your phone booth that helps you change from one activity to another?

Draw your own pause button. Create a description of what you need to recharge, refresh, reprogram.

Get out your colored pencils and crayons and visualize what pause means to you.

Then use it. Hit the pause button. Create that space for yourself in real life.

Hit the pause button. Before you hit play again.

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Thank. — Note. And Take Notice.

note

It has been a busy week. A good, but busy week.

It has been “Winning Choices Week.”

The week of the year that I spend traveling with a guest motivational speaker, going from school to school, sharing a positive, ‘make good choices’ message.

It has been a good week. A good, but busy week

I was already keeping a list of folks that I need to write Thank You notes for their help, all the while wondering when in the world I would make this happen.

And then, today, Y surprised me by bringing home a story that she had written at school for her Winning Choices Character Essay entry.

Here it is. A mini-guest blog post from Y:

“My Mom’s friend did a half marathon. They parked in a parking garage. When they came out of the parking garage, there was someone who was stopping buses so people could walk across the road. Nobody said thank you. My Mom’s friend could not find their car after the race. The Police helped them find their car. They found the parking garage they parked in. They asked the guy who was stopping buses if he had seen their car. He said yes. My Mom’s friend was surprised. There was at least 1,000 people there. The guy who was stopping buses said, “You were the only one that said, “Thank you” So I remember you.”  And he let them in to go get their car.”

Isn’t that great? I think she should totally win this character trait essay contest.  I’m her Mom and I think she is all kinds of awesome. And don’t tell her this, but maybe she’s too close to the event organizer, aka Mom,  to actually win. We’ll see.

It is also a very, very good reminder that this girl is a total sponge.

I told this story to Felix last week. I think it must have been while we were making dinner. I’m not even sure I fully connected to the fact that Y was there for the telling of this. Intentionally, too, because I do remember actually trying to keep some of the details from her, since we censored her access to information about this event for our own parental reasons.

But, she still managed to get most of the story right. She missed only a few very important details.

Yes. This is a story about my friend.

But she didn’t run a half marathon.

She ran a full marathon.

And not just any ol’ 26.2 mile marathon.

There were more than 1,000 people at this race.

It was more like 23,000. Because.

My friend was in Boston.

My friend ran in the Boston Marathon this year.  On April 15th, 2013.

It is true that my friend and her husband did park in a parking garage, so early in the morning before the race.

There was an attendant stopping buses to let them cross the street.

My friend and her husband did finish the race a little bit before the bombs exploded.

It is true that my friend and her husband couldn’t find their car and were talking with police to get locations of the local parking garages when they heard one bomb explode. And then a few seconds later, the second bomb explode.

They had no money on them. They had no change of clothes. They didn’t have their cell phones. They had actually hidden the key to the rental car on the actual car in the parking garage that they now couldn’t find.

Then there was pandemonium and chaos. And they just needed to let their families know that they were ok. People offered them money. People offered them a place to take a shower. The nearby hotel let them use the phone to call home. Ultimately, they called a friend to come and pick them up.

The next day, they came back into the city, but everything was shut down for security purposes. They went to the parking garage and asked the attendant if they could go in and look for their rental car.

He said, “Yeah. Totally. Your car is just inside. I remember you.”

My friend shook her head, disbelieving. “No way, there were 23,000 people here yesterday.”

He responded, “No. Really. I remember you. You were the only person, all day long, who stopped to thank me for being here to help yesterday. Your car is just inside to the right.”

He let them in and sure enough. There it was. Just where he said it was.

And he remembered her. Simply because she took the time to say, “Thank you.”

In the middle of a crazy day for him. (Even before the unimaginable evil entered that place and changed lives forever.) Two words. A simple “Thank you” made a huge impact on his day. And he remembered.

We cannot underestimate the power of two words. We have to start to notice more. Notice more and take note of the wonderful. The wonderful and the simple.

How hard is that? How much time does it take? Just to say, “Thank you.”

Just two words.  Thank you.

Now, take the time to write down kindnesses that you have really appreciated over the years, months, days.. or today.

And then, make the time to write them a Thank You note. A good ol’ fashioned, hand-written Thank You note.

These are important stories.

Note. And Take Notice.

Even during the busy weeks. The good, but busy weeks.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

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Time. — Choosing All the Times.

It is about time.

As I sit here and listen to the clock on the wall, tick, tick, tick… I am reminded that timing is everything.

Being a Tired Working Momma is about time. And the fact that there is just never enough of it.

Everywhere I go, I hear Mommas talking about the fact that they just need more time. If there were more hours in the day, minutes in the year, things would be better. Easier.

So, as Tired Working Mommas, we make choices.

And in time, our choices begin to define us.

We know we need to exercise. So we choose to set the alarm clock for 4:45 a.m. instead of getting the 7 or 8 hours of sleep that we need to function like a normal person. Then we wonder why we are so tired all of the time.

We know we need to eat healthy. But sometimes we choose to skip breakfast or don’t make time to make lunch as we rush everyone out the door to be on time.

We know we need to meet deadlines and get our work accomplished on time. So we choose to ignore the invitation and don’t find time for a cup of coffee with a friend or colleague.

Sometimes there is even so much work to do that we struggle to leave work when we leave work and so we use our time to sit on the couch to do a little more work after the kiddo’s bedtime.

It is about time. It is about choices.

And it may be time for us to make some changes.

There comes a moment in time where we have to start to believe that this is the right time.

We have to trust that this time in our lives is truly fleeting.

We don’t have time.

There will never be enough time, but there will never be another time like this.

And it is time for us to be ok with this. To make peace with this.

To trust that this is a great time.

This time of raising our kiddos is full of so many first times and last times.

Too many to count.

I realized this morning that I may have experienced one of those last times last night.

There is no better bedtime staller than my Y. However, her little brother, X, may be giving her a run for the money. His bedtime routine now consists of about 7 cannonballs, or as he says, ‘candyballs!’ as he jumps onto his bed and bounces around, while I gasp and wince as he almost hits his head 5 of those 7 times. Then there are the required 6 songs with the last one being sung two times in a row. Then there is time for a hug. A hug and a kiss. And then just a kiss. He still kisses those cold spots on the backs of my arms before we launch into a silly speech with all of the final goodnights before it is time to go to sleep:

“Good night. Sweet dreams. I love you. I love you more.” Times a million.

Sometimes this takes forever. And I can feel myself start to think of other things that I need to do after I tuck him in. I still have to tuck Y in. And that can take just as much time. I still want to go downstairs and finish that piece of writing. I still need to look at the lunch menus…ok, let’s be honest here, Felix makes the lunches, so I’ll let him do that. But I do still need to clean up the dishes or put the living room back together so I feel better about my house when I get up in the morning.  I still need to pick out my clothes or look at my calendar and decide what meeting I need to prepare for.

Often times my mind starts to spin like this during the time I am supposed to be ending my day with my amazing X. Sometimes I have to fight to stay in the moment.

So, this time, just as I was this close to being out of his bedroom door for the last time last night, X sat up and looked at me.

“I have one more question.” I know that I sighed. I know that I did. I hate to admit it now, but I know that I did that.

“Do you think it would be weird if you were to rock me in that chair tonight? Do you have time to do that just one time tonight?”

chair

The rocking chair. The rocking chair that I spent so many nights, so much time, rocking both of my babies to sleep, still sits in his room. I can’t remember the last time I even sat in it. It has been forever since I held one of my children in it. We joke about how long their legs are now and about how there was a time that they used to fit in my arms.

I stopped. I wanted time to stop for just a little bit.

And in that moment, I realized how fast this all goes. This time that flies in our face and races past us.

And when I think that they are stalling or wasting my time, because as a Tired Working Momma I have so much work to do. I am so wrong. Even though my time at work focused on teaching 80 people about community building in the classroom, this…this…without a doubt is actually the most important thing that I will do all day long.

So, I cleared off the 17 superheroes that did battle in this chair earlier in the day, and I sat down and held out my arms. He grinned from ear to ear and threw back the superhero covers and jumped out of bed. He awkwardly climbed up into my lap, giggling the whole time. And I tried to make him smaller. I tried to squish up his legs and remember the time that he used to fit here. All of him. Here in my arms.

And we discovered that he still fit. We snuggled up and I rocked him and he giggled. Maybe one part embarrassed, one part in celebration that he was indeed victorious and out of bed again. But I also think there was one part of him that remembered the times that we both sat like this. For hours. Together. Just us and the ticking clock on the wall.

Nowhere else to be. Nothing else to do.

It is these times. Times like this.

That makes it all worthwhile.

Because it is only a matter of time that he literally won’t fit in my lap any more.

And maybe that was even the last time he will ask to be rocked by me in that rocking chair.

Only time will tell.

And I know that tomorrow I will be rushed again to go out the door and do my time at work.

But I will choose. I will choose to try and fail and try, time and time again.

And I will let my choices define me. As a Tired Working Momma.

A Tired Working Momma who will choose to make the time, find the time, take the time to spend more time like this.

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Marry. — The Mantra Still Works…14 Years Later

The night before Felix and I were to be married, there was a task that needed to be done.  A task neither one of us wanted to do. In retrospect, 14 years later, it was SO not a big deal. But at the end of a few very long days that included running away from a hurricane and all of the preparations that go into a wedding and ceremony where we did most of the planning and preparation ourselves…the task seemed monumental and overwhelming.

I begged Felix to take care of it for me. He clearly didn’t want to and had his own valid reasons. Exasperated, I finally looked at him and said, ….

“Be nice and do what I say.”

I can’t remember if we laughed about it then,  because I’m sure it felt a little like an argument at the time.  But over the years, it has become the motto of our marriage. A mantra of sorts. A phrase that shows up to end silly arguments and discussions to this day.

Be nice and do what I say. 

Now that I reflect back on our vows, I wish we had just said these words:  “I love you. Be nice and do what I say. You may now kiss the bride.”  It would certainly have been surprising to all of the wedding guests that got all dressed up and brought presents for the big day.  But I think they might have all appreciated the short ceremony, so they could get right to the real party and celebrations… and … dancing!

I love you. Be nice and do what I say.”  Simple, yet powerful. “Be nice” … act in such a way that will make the other person feel good. Another way of saying this: Just don’t be mean.  Be intentionally… nice. Think before you speak. Know how something will impact your loved one. “Do what I say“..help each other. Listen to requests. Do the things that the one you love hates to do. Try to make the other person happy.

These are not hard concepts.

And may be the secret to a long, happy marriage.

On the eve of our 14th wedding anniversary, I’d like to say…

To my best friend/partner/hubby, aka Fix-it Felix:

I love the way you appreciate a warmed bed and a warmed towel.

I love your waking up noises in the mornings.

I love that you pack healthy lunches and snacks for the kiddos and make yummy dinners for us all.

I love your entrepreneurial ways.

I love that we are equal partners in the Family Chore Wars.

I love that you do try to fix things…most of the time.

I love the way you love me. 

I love the way you love us. 

I love the way you love ours. 

Happy 14th Anniversary, Babe.

Now, Go. Be nice and do what I say.

wedding

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View. — The Big Picture is there…just beyond the willow trees.

All the way home, all eight hours of the drive, I was recounting what a nice vacation we had just enjoyed. Nice place. Quality time with family. Beautiful weather. Time with my ocean and sand between my toes.  As I looked down at the ton of souvenir sand that we were bringing back with us on the floorboards of my car, I wanted to try to make sure that I remembered all of the good times.

The rollercoasters. The crab legs. The fun adventures with friends at the cottage. Kayaking on the river. Catching weird (and creepy to think we were swimming with them!) creatures from the dock. The campfire. The beach. The waves. The sun. The sunrises. The birthdays. The family game nights. The laughs. The memories.

I kept trying to hold on to all of this…because I knew. I knew that as soon as we got home, it was going to get back to normal. Not that normal is bad.  I love my little slice of normal.

But… the rain was falling and I was starting to understand what people were saying about building arks and living in Seattle.  The dog was there and I was going to try to stay to true to my intentions of giving him the one millionth chance to bond and build some sort of relationship.  There was a ton of unpacking to do, even though I had brilliantly done all of the laundry before we left, so all of the clothes were coming home clean.  There were hungry kids with nothing in the refrigerator, requiring either a trip to the grocery store or a wild dose of creativity and resourcefulness. To make matters more frustrating, I had this nagging idea for a story. And even crazier than that, I randomly thought I could sit right down at the computer (which is so….super….slooooooow) and type out a best seller in mere minutes.  Yes, I somehow thought I could write this brilliant tale at the kitchen counter, between the calls for organic mac n’ cheese with a side of quinoa (see, I went with the creative option instead of the store) and milk (which we didn’t have) above the pleas  for multiple games of Connect Four.

And … as predicted and painfully obvious now, I started to feel overwhelmed.  The sound of the ocean waves were quickly fading away, being replaced with dog whines and  kiddo arguments over whose turn it was to watch a show. The scent of the salty air was overpowered by the burnt ‘curly rice’ that bubbled over onto the hot burner on the stove top. The sand between my toes that had been so magical just a few hours ago, was now underneath my feet on my kitchen floor and I realized I was reaching for the broom.

In a last ditch effort to hold onto the last bit of this vacation, I reached for the leash instead and headed outside in the drizzling rain.  As I turned left out of my driveway, the color in the sky caught my eye.  Yep,  a beautiful, vibrant, bright rainbow fell from the sky. Actually, the elusive and   squeal-producing double rainbow!

rainbow small

I took a deep breath and really stopped to take it in. I found myself looking up and over the willow trees that I love at the end of my driveway. My eyes continued along the long arched lines of “ROY. G. BIV” (You know: Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet.) and watched as the lines were … unbroken.

My breath caught just a little and I took a few steps back to see the whole, full, beautiful rainbow. Right over my house.

I wanted my camera to capture it, but was afraid that  if I walked away it might be gone.

So I ran.

Dragging the dog back to the house, I grabbed my phone, which usually doubles as my camera, and ran back outside. Down the driveway, out into the road.  Trying to hold a leash and an umbrella and capture the image forever.

I was getting so frustrated again, because no matter where I stood, no matter how many steps backwards I took, I realized that I could never get the distance from this amazing sight in order to see the whole thing as I wanted.  And in that frustration, I decided to resign myself to the fact that it was too big, too amazing, too monumental to be captured in one frame. It just wasn’t meant to be. Just as I was letting that idea go…

I remembered that panaramic option on my phone.  Multiple frames.  Pieced together. To allow me to see and capture the whole of the rainbow.

Right over my house. Almost spotlighting my little world.

It was probably one of the most amazing images I’ve seen in a while.  I’m sure it means something. I just haven’t had a chance to completely comprehend what that something is.

But I know this. It made me stop. I took a deep breath.

And recognized once again… that perspective is everything.

Sometimes we have to change our vantage points. We have to step outside. Stop trying to force things to happen when the timing is off.  Trust that the right time will come. Get away from our frustrations and negative places.

To see the big picture.

Take a step back.

And look at it again.

rainbow

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Try. Or Tri. As in…I did it! Part One.

I told you the story about Felix participating in his very first triathlon a few weeks ago. If you haven’t read it, be sure to check it out here:

Swim. Bike. Run. — Three Verbs b/c It Is Just That Cool.

It is a story about his experience in the pool, on the bike and then on foot, sure. But it could also have been titled, “How to Entertain a Five Year Old During a 24 Hour Experience That Is NOT About the Five Year Old.” But that seems like a really, really long title.

It is also a little bit about Bacon. It is. I know, I’m shaking my head, too.

Go on. Go read that one. … I’ll wait here for you to come back…

….

I’m so happy to see you again!

So, once again, just about two weeks ago, Felix casually asked me if I would like to do a triathlon in a nearby town along with him.

Casually, like, probably at dinner time while I’m retrieving a glass of milk for a short person while negotiating just how many bites he has to eat before he is excused, while simultaneously keeping the dog from eating the pair of socks that I told the girl child to put in the hamper along with trying to answer an email on my phone about a date that I may or may not be able to make a meeting.

So, in that very casual moment, I very casually replied to the voice in the other room, “Yes. Yes I do.”  And went on with my usual evening multi-tasking routines.

The next day, I received an email indicating that I had been registered for the triathlon taking place in a few days.

Ummm. Wait. What? For Reals?…as the kids say.

So I did what every triathlete does two weeks before a big competition.

I just tried not to think about it.

Really. I didn’t run. I didn’t go to the aquatic center and practice swimming. I didn’t get on my bike and go for a ride.  Ok, we did go for one bike ride but with the kiddos on the trail. But I was more focused on making sure people weren’t wrecking or going too fast, or trying to make sure they weren’t complaining or moaning and groaning about being hot or thirsty or tired. So, I’m not really sure that can be called training of any sorts.

Before I knew it, the date was here. It was real. It was the day before. I didn’t have a swimsuit. I didn’t have a road bike. I didn’t have a plan.

So. Literally the day before. Felix rented a bike for me. He did send me a picture of it as he left.

The day before. I went to a sporting goods store in search of some kind of a swimsuit that I could then run in as well.

The day before. I started thinking about the transitions and what I would need to make sure I pack.

Goggles. Towel. Swimsuit. Socks. Running Shoes. Running Pants. T-shirt to Run in. Bike Helmet. Sunglasses. Sports watch. (Do I have one? I used to…where is it?! Is it water proof? hmmmm…)

The day before. I started to get anxious.

The day before. I posted my goals on facebook for the world to see and hold me accountable for.

1. Don’t Drown.

2. Finish in less than two hours.

3. Don’t come in last.

The night before I laid everything out. Confirmed plans for the kiddos for the early morning — Thanks Mom! Then headed to bed.

I had a dream about the swim. I dreamed that I got started, but by the second lap, I was getting tangled up in the lane ropes. I was all mixed up in these strings in the pool, trying to untangle and swim at the same time. I could feel myself struggling. I was getting overwhelmed. I was fighting in the water and feeling anxious.

And then the alarm went off.

But in those first moments, I somehow knew everything was going to be ok.

Because the song playing on the radio told me so. The first words I heard playing were from the song called, “Home” by Philip Philips.  (Here’s the video…the song is great!)

Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
Cause I’m gonna make this place your home

The morning of the triathlon. I started to get excited.

The morning of the triathlon. I started to settle down.

The morning of the triathlon. I started to feel determined.

The morning of the triathlon. I started to get my game face on.

….. to be continued…..

Part Two: Keep Calm and Swim, Bike, Run On.

Or.

How NOT to Quit Your First Triathlon in the First 75 Meters of the Swim! 

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Wait. — No Matter How Early.

I get up early, sunrise early, to take the dog for a walk.

Just as I am ready to head out the door with leash in hand, here comes the boy child toddling down the steps.

He wants to go with me if I can just wait for him to go get pants and socks.

So I wait.

That same child goes upstairs and wakes up his sister.

Really?

Now she wants to go, but she needs to find her shoes.

Sigh. So I wait.

Outside, the boy child now doesn’t want to walk, but ride his bike instead, which requires the garage door to be opened.

Finally, we walk.

And talk.

She holds my hand.

We make little discoveries in the grass and the trees together.

We watch the fog lift and the sun rise above the ridge together.

We chat about the day ahead and list the things we are looking forward to doing together.

We breathe in the morning breeze and I say a little prayer for another day we have together.

Sorry to everyone, Felix and the neighbors, for being noisy as we walked so early this morning.

Today.

This morning, knowing the heartache that is happening in Oklahoma…

This Momma just couldn’t say “No” to spending some time with my kiddos.

No matter how early.

holding hands

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Attack. — Un Signo de Dio on the Softball Field.

I believe in signs. Just like one of my favorite lines from one of my favorite movies: “Under the Tuscan Sun.”

 I have started to pay closer attention to synchronicities in my everyday world. Little signs, little signals that I am where I am supposed to be, doing what I am supposed to be doing, talking with people I’m supposed to share with. 
 
These signs, they are everywhere. I can’t say for certain that these are signs from God–that might border on presumptuous. But maybe they are. And if they are, then I feel obligated to not only pay closer attention, but take action on any of these signs that come my way. 
 
And this one, … was such a bizarre one, … that I feel there must be a reason to write it down and share this story. 
 
Here goes. 
 

A funny thing happened on the way to the … softball field.

The phone rang.

It was a friend. But a busy, on the go friend, who is usually more likely to go for the quick text than an actual ‘stop and have a conversation’ phone call. Weird. But the conversation that came after my answering with a casual “Hey there” was even weirder.

First of all, there was a very unfamiliar panicked concern in her voice. It wasn’t right at all.

“Are you ok?” She asked me.

Yeah.

“Are you ok, really?!”  She almost…almost sounded like she was ready to cry, which started to concern me.

I responded with a  suspicious tone… Yeah. I have a little cold, but…

“Did anything bad happen today?!” I thought, well, clearly something bad has happened or you wouldn’t be calling me and asking me questions like this!

Ok, now you’re freaking me out.

“Oh my God. Ok. I’m calming down. Oh my God. Letting the cortisol come down a little….”

What in the world!? What is going on?!

“I just heard that you had had a heart attack on the soft ball field today!”

WHAT?! WHAT?!  (I’m betting that I started to sound like that Mom over the phone on “A Christmas Story” … )

The conversation continued and I reassured her again and again that I was fine. Just sitting here, relaxing on the couch. No signs of a heart attack. I haven’t been to the softball fields today. I’m not sure where this is coming from. This is crazy, but I’m fine.

Fine. But now a little freaked out at just the thought that someone out there thinks I had a heart attack. That is crazy. Right?

Y was sitting right beside me and I was too shocked to keep the conversation from her as I probably should have done. So, I used this as an opportunity to talk about rumors and how rumors get started and how rumors can unintentionally hurt or scare people…yada yada yada, …. insert brilliant parenting moment here.

But in my head, I kept thinking…Heart Attack? Me? Who would think that I could have a heart attack? How many people out there think that I have had a heart attack? Am I going to have people showing up with flowers and offers of dinner? Do I need to post something to let everyone know I’m ok?

And then it moved on to things like: I can’t have a heart attack! I’m just 40! I’m a health coach! I eat well and play more and choose happy and all that jazz! Sure, I haven’t been to the gym everyday for a while, but life’s been busy and there’s been traveling and people have had colds and fevers and such…yada yada yada, insert other plausible excuses here.

A heart attack? Me?

It took all evening and three different phone calls from three different concerned, loving friends to finally track down the origin of this story. As it turns out, a good Momma was trying to let her husband know about A’s Mom, (who is 80+ years old and might have had a heart attack). But on a noisy softball field, he misunderstood and heard “Y’s Mom” and thought … well, Me. He was shocked and shared the news out of concern to the hubs of one of my good friends who in turn, called his wife and shared the news out of shock and concern. She called a friend to see what was happening, and that is when my phone rang and this whole crazy story began.

Of course, we were all concerned about A’s Mom and keeping her close in our prayers. But we were all relieved that I was fine and this was just a misunderstanding.

And while we laughed off the whole misunderstanding of it all, I think it messed with us all just a bit. And that is when I started noticing the signs. I swear, all evening long, even while the girl child was watching the Disney channel, every other commercial on TV was something related to heart attacks or heart disease. I’m not kidding.  Then I started thinking about walking through the airport at O’Hare last week. There was a poster on the wall, that randomly caught my eye and made me stop to comment about how the ad was targeted to women.

Finally, this morning, I woke up and was having a little trouble going back to sleep. So, I checked my phone and found another sign: An advertisement about women and heart attacks.

Yeah, I think I’m supposed to share this story. Just in case. Just in case it helps one person.

More than 250,000 women in the U.S. die of a heart attack each year. Many don’t know the symptoms of a heart attack, which are often different for women compared to men, or how to prepare for them.

Warning Signs of a Suspected Heart Attack

  • Chest pressure, tightness and heaviness
  • Pain in shoulders, neck, jaw* or arms*
  • Lightheadedness
  • Paleness
  • Faintness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea*
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest pain*
  • Extreme fatigue*

*More common in women

If you suspect you’re having a heart attack call 911 and crush or chew aspirin as directed by a doctor. Aspirin, when taken as directed by a doctor during a suspected heart attack and for 30 days thereafter, can reduce damage to the heart and reduce the risk of death by 23 percent.

 

Later, a friend shared that the she thought, “Crap. If Z has a heart attack, we are all screwed.” Which is funny, … but we know it happens. It has happened. So, take care of yourselves, people. Eat Well. Play More. Choose Happy.

Know the signs. And … Pay attention to the signs.

Elizabeth Banks teamed up with Go Red For Women in this short film on women, motherhood and recognizing the signs of a heart attack.  Just. In. Case. We’ve all had mornings like this… Know the signs.

For More Information:    www.heart.org or IamProHeart

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Answer. — “What I Did on my Lenten Vacation.”

40 days ago, I set out to Prepare. during the Season of Lent. I wanted to answer a question:

“Is it well with my soul?”

And 40 days later, I’m realizing that may have been a slightly ambitious goal. To find the answer to that question in a mere 40 days. Really? What was I thinking?!

40 days ago, I said I would spend the time reflecting, appreciating and preparing. Instead of giving something up, I said I would try to crowd out what wasn’t working and add in some new.

I crowded out a morning routine that was making me a little crazy and added in a slower pace.

Which enabled me to crowd out some mindless timewasting to add in writing morning pages.

Those pages helped me realize I needed to crowd out some old insecurities and new fears and I added in some more reflecting, which led to more writing.

And ultimately, I was able to crowd out some year old bitterness and sadness, adding in some optimism which led to some peace.

So, what did I do over the past 40 days? I learned. I noticed. I recorded. I prayed. I reflected. I questioned. I realized. I dreamed.

I am thankful for so much. For sacrifice. For answered prayers. For opportunities. For possibilities. For abundance. For commitment. For crowding out and adding in. For Love.

And the answer to the question:

Is it well with my soul?

I think it is.

Happy Easter, Everyone.

Engage the day.

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