Saturday, November 30, 2013

Slow and steady...

I don't know why I go so long between posts because I seriously think about things I could write about all the time.  Life provides so stinkin much fodder.  Reading my last post about running the 5K, though, reminds me why I haven't posted since then.  Here's why...

That run was painful, y'all.

I was fired up and ready to go.  Stretched myself out, chatted up my fellow runners, and got my little bib...which I had to call my sister in law to get her to tell me where to pin it.  Chest or belly?  Do I pin it down or let it fly?  Is it going to bob up and down on my flabby tummy if I don't pin it down?  Oh, the pressure.  I'm a dork.

The race began and we all started off.  There were only about 40 people in this race, 15 of whom were children under the age of 11.  It was a little race, a neighborhood race, no big deal.  About ten or twenty seconds into it, though, I realized that I was going to be in the back.  That's ok, I thought, because these kids will wear out and some of these adults told me they aren't even runners so I'm sure it'll all pan out and I'll move on up in the pack.

Aaaaaaand no.  That didn't happen.  It never happened.  In fact, I was in the back.  Dead last.  For the whole race.

I take that back.  There was one girl who was right in front of me who would stop and walk every once in a while and I would pass her.  But when she saw me pass her it was like she said to herself, "Aw heeeeull no, I am not going to let that girl beat me."  So she would speed up and eventually she got out of my reach.

It is at this time I'd like to remind you of a couple things:

1.  I already told you guys I'm a slow runner.  This is not news to you and is definitely not news to me.  The reason I like running is because I run slowly.  My heart rate gets up enough, but I like to keep running and see how far I can go rather than running for speed and then having to walk because I poop myself.  That's just not my jam.

2.  The most important thing to remember is why I was running...I was running this race in honor of my friends and their devastating loss of their son despite his sister's gracious gift of her own bone marrow.

Back to the race:

So I knew I was slow, but didn't know I was THAT slow.  I distinctly remember thinking that there were definitely some people I could pass (read: kids under 7) and that there is no possible way after 6 months of running 4 times a week that I could actually be in THE back.  Like the literal back.  Like the cop car that follows the end runner and brings up the rear of the group was right beside me.  In the back.  (Incidentally, said officer was playing on his laptop while I was sweating it out.  So embarrassing.  I actually yelled my apologies for being so slow into his open window.)

Keep in mind that this happened in my own neighborhood, so there were some friends out in their yards cheering us on.  One good friend piled my kids on her golf cart and they sat at different points in the hood so they could cheer me on.  I thought this would be so encouraging.  To my utter and complete disappointment in myself, this just made me feel embarrassed.  My friends and my family were watching me lose.  My girls were going to see their mom in THE back.  I didn't lose my head completely, though, because I am not a total lunatic and I was able to realize that I had to finish.  It didn't matter how I did it.  I just had to finish, for myself, for my girls, and for the Fricks.   Finishing is what mattered.

But the sad thing is that other things mattered too.  I am not sure I can explain to you, nor do you really want to read about, the negative brain space I was in.  I tried my darndest to speak truth to myself.  You know, runner speak like "slow and steady wins the race," which they actually do not...they lose the race... and they drag a cop car along with it.

So I tried speaking Truth to myself.  Scripture, quotes, psalms, hymns...anything that I knew that I knew that I knew to be true.  I tried focusing on Kim and the Frick family and their terrible loss and difficult struggle.  I tried praying for Devin's sister who so graciously gave of herself in order to prolong her brother's life.  But the debilitating thought patterns had set in and it was ugly.

I'm not sure if you're ready for this, dear reader, but I started to cry.

Not cry because it was hard and I couldn't breathe, which it was and I couldn't.  I started crying because I was so disappointed in myself for being in the back.  And then I cried harder for caring that I was in the back.  I was a literal hot mess.

Around mile 2 is when this little meltdown occurred.  It was getting dark but I kept my sunglasses on, (so I can so I can) so that Officer Laptop couldn't see me crying.  Then out of nowhere I heard a little voice call my name.

"Hey Mom!"

It was my sweet Zoe in all her glory with her curls bouncing in the wind and her smile as big as day.  She left the comfort of my friend's tricked out golf cart to come and run beside me.  This made me cry more, but also made me so happy.  She was like a "visible expression of the invisible God" coming to run with me.  This didn't make me run faster.  As a matter of fact I still battled my thoughts the entire rest of the race, but I KNEW that I had been heard.  I knew that my God was WITH me, that He was pleased with me, and that He and Officer Laptop were going to see me through this thing.

Zoe ran on ahead of me, turned around to encourage me at times, and alerted me when she could see the finish line.  I could hear the band playing on the soccer field and see folks drinking their celebratory beers as I reached the end of the race.  My sweet family was there to hug me and tell me they were proud of me.  As Ian came up to me I wanted to lose it because I had been holding it in, but I didn't because I SOOOO wanted my girls to see that I had finished and that's what really mattered.  Then Tori, in all her tiny glory, ran up to me, hugged my knees and said these sweet words to me:

"Mom!!  You WON!!"

Out of the mouths of babes.

Don't think for a second that I think I won that race.  I was dead last and I know it.  But I love that the unconditional love my kids and family showed me is such a tangible picture of the "withness" of Jesus.  And I love that the world's view (read: my view) of winning is so totally opposite of what winning looks like in God's economy.

Did the Frick family lose because Devin didn't live? Yes, on one hand.  They lost their son/husband/friend/brother/boyfriend in an awfully painful struggle.  They are suffering overwhelming loss.  But they did not lose the race.  Instead they scratched and clawed and held on with all their might to the promises of God.  The fact that the Lord was WITH them, though they may or may not have felt His presence, is the real truth.  This truth is hard.  This truth hurts.  This truth is very difficult to believe and to focus on because it doesn't make pain go away.  But it is still Truth.

So I don't really have a moral of the story, and I think that's probably good.  I would hate to cheapen my experience, and more importantly the painful experience of my friends, by tying up this post with a nice pretty bow.  Gross...that would just be annoying, and bad theology.  I just felt like I needed to put this out there because it was a super raw, super real experience for me.  And because so many of you were rooting for me.  All I can say is that it's really important to run alongside each other, to cheer each other on, and to speak Truth to each other every chance we get.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Lemme see if you can run it run it...

Woot!  Today I am going to run my first 5K.  I thought about not posting about this because remember I told you that it is kinda annoying when people post about their running times and successes?  Mmmmmkay, that's me now.  It's just kind of a big deal for me because I am an eater, not a runner.  Now I guess I'm an eater and a runner.  But hey, it's a step in the right direction.

Tonight in our little hood there is a 5K for "Be the Match", an organization benefitting folks who need a bone marrow transplant.  Honestly I wasn't planning to run because we just got back from Hawaii on Monday night (I know, tough life) and I'm still pretty run down, but I have a reason for running that is driving me to get off my booty and do this.

Over the past year or so, my sweet friends Dennis and Zan Frick have fought alongside their son, Devin, in his battle with leukemia.  During this terrible time he began dating my dear friend Kim Bott who loved Devin selflessly and joyfully through his illness.  Devin needed a bone marrow transplant and his sister, Lisha, was a perfect match.  She graciously donated her bone marrow in order to help prolong her brother's life.  I don't know a lot about this process, but I have read that it is painful and of course accompanied by the usual risks of surgery and anesthesia.  What a selfless act!

Despite all the prayers, love, transplant, and excellent care Devin lost his life to leukemia just a few short weeks ago.  I have thought a lot about Devin's sister and how discouraged she must feel.  Still I am amazed at her brave spirit and her willingness to stand in the gap for her brother.  That's just the kind of reckless love that Jesus talks about in John chapter 25 where He says,

"In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal."

So tonight I am going to run this little race in honor of Lisha and Devin and his sons and Zan and Dennis and Kim, as well as all those missing him and grieving this loss.  I love the way you all loved Devin with reckless abandon and am trusting that you have that love forever, real and eternal.

P.S.  Sidenote:  I am the slowest runner on the planet.  Maybe not, but still I'm real real slow.  When I took the President's Physical Fitness test in school I could NEVER run the mile.  I wasn't overweight, I just couldn't do it.  Couch to 5K has been my friend, though I often still prefer the couch.  My prayer this year has been that I would begin to crave GOOD THINGS.  Not good things like Oreos, 12 hour nights of sleep (never happens), or binge watching "New Girl" on Netflix.  What I want to crave are the things that are the BEST for me - like running and laughing hard and eating food that is not brown. So yippee!!  I'm celebrating this baby step tonight by gearing up in my Patagonia running dress my hubs gave me and jogging my self around SJGCC.  

P.P.S.  Why did I choose to quote a Chris Brown song for the title of this post?  Suspect.  But great running song.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lemme jog your memory...(do you see what I did there?)

I am not a runner.  I'm not just saying that.  You know how you read those articles or have those friends that say they couldn't even run to the end of the street and now they are run junkies?  Well, I am that person that could not run to the end of the street.  No joke.  And though I would not begin to call myself a run junkie (RJ), I am kinda starting to like it...did I say that out loud?

This was me after a grueling 30 minute Couch to 5K run/walk at the beginning of my second week.  And for those of you who are unfamiliar with C25K, you start out by running 60 seconds, then walking for 90 seconds...on and on until you've reached 30 minutes.  Each week you build up to longer running stretches.  So it's not like I was even running more than 90 seconds at a stretch when that picture was taken.   Let me start by admitting that it always annoyed me when people would post their exercise stats on fb or we need to know how awesome you are and how jiggly the rest of us are becoming because we're plowing through our second bowl of Moose Tracks, sitting on our keisters, checking facebook.  I just thought it was kinda stuck up that folks would want to let everyone know how great they're doing.  I still kinda feel that way except for the fact that I now have to majorly resist this urge to cybershare every time I finish one of these run/walking sessions.

Thankfully I did post this picture on instagram a few weeks ago and got some feedback from my RJ friend Heather Bland.  She told me I was running too fast.  This made me crack up because I was  not running fast.  Running fast is FloJo.  Running fast is Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom.  Running fast has never been used in the same sentence with my name.  What I found, though, is that she was right.  And another problem...I was listening to 90's rap hits (Tupac, Biggie, Warren G...Regulators...Mount Up) because I thought it would pump me up and distract me so I could get to the end of the 30 minutes.  This turned out to be a major mistake because have you ever listened to the words to these songs for reals?  Seriously, I would be running down the street and wonder, "Why am I listening to this craziness?".  Songs about booties, gats, ice, five-o, the Eastside Motel...I wanted to skip to the next song in hopes of something better but then I couldn't see the screen of my phone because of the fogged up arm band I was wearing.  So the solution to my run hatred turned out to be running slower and switching my tunes.  Don't get me wrong...Warren G has his place in history and there are times when nothing else will do, but when I run I need to chill.  Now I listen to what might be classified as soft rock or coffee house music.  I know, it's cray.  But it actually helps me chill and breathe and, dare I say, enjoy my run (what the what!!??).

And there's one other major change I had to make...a mental shift from running to lose 20 lbs and be like my RJ friends to running just because it's good for me to get out of my house and get my heart beating a bit faster.  I think when I turned 40 last year a traumatically beautiful truth appeared:  I'm never going to be the best at these things so I can now try whatever I want and have fun.  I'm not going pro at anything but being me.  And that's so corny and so refreshing.  I remember when I was a kid and I hated playing sports because I wasn't the BEST the first time I tried it, so I just quit. I remember thinking, "What's the point?  There's no reason I should keep trying and looking like an idiot at this because I will never be the best.  Is this going to make me money in the future?  Is this going to make me famous?  Then thanks but no thanks."

We can all see how productive this line of thinking is for a person.  Let's couple this with the fact that I grew up to work full time for Young Life, only to leave and be a stay at home mom.  If those two things don't scream money and prestige, then I don't know what does.

I will write more about my journey to the 5K in the days to come.  But for now, let's just say that it's really been so great for my mind.  My body still looks the same, but here's hoping my heart has changed...just a little with every sweaty step.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thinking about renaming the blog...

This could be a fresh start... a chance to redeem myself with all my many followers (insert maniacal laugh here).  Seriously, I never did this for everyone else.  Just for me.  Except for that time I put the "hit counter" on here, and when I shamelessly pimped my posts on facebook, which I will continue to do, of course.

The truth is, I have missed writing.  I find it difficult to make myself sit down and concentrate on something that might be the very least may be something my kids will scroll through one day.  But I think I might be ADD.  I'm not saying that flippantly.  I really think I might be a highly functioning adult with a touch of ADD.  It flares up at certain points in my day, week, year, and it's debilitating in a way.  Kind of an ugly defeatist mentality, or Satan going to work in my head, or bad mental habits that have grown louder over the years.  Whatever it is, it makes it difficult to "restart" things because I know I will probably not finish them.

Or maybe I'm just lazy.  Or normal.  Or a mom.  Or it's just who I am.

Either way, the naval gazing is not getting me anywhere...unless the cookie jar counts as a worthwhile destination.


OK, anyway, thoughts on a new blog name?  I am open for suggestions.  I would love for this to be a place where I can share ideas, stories, and screw ups and hopefully my "guests" will feel they can relate, or laugh at my antics...

Take for instance, yesterday.  The church musical was last night and all three of my girls were in the performance.  Maggie was "Attorney Steele," and she had a solo during one song.  The twins were a part of the courtroom audience and they sang loud and proud about Simon Peter and how his testimony about Jesus is legit.  It was hilarious.  And I was beaming with mommy pride, until a couple things happened.  First of all, one of the twins (who will remain unnamed) was holding onto coins throughout the performance (which she was told not to bring).  She dropped them during the first half, and then handed her twin the other coin, which was promptly dropped during the second half.  It was obvious and it was loud.  Then one twin tried to put said coin in her breast pocket of her henley tee, and as she was working that out she shamelessly and without realization shared her breasteses with the audience.  Awesome.  Another time one of the twins (again, won't name names) kept brushing her hair off her neck in dramatic fashion.  Here's a visual:

Then the other sweet, innocent, precious little darling twin started gyrating during one of the Jesus songs.  I think the name of the song was, "Come As You Are," so I guess she really took those words to mean that she could dance any way she saw fit.  Again, a visual:

 Awesome, right?

Overall the performance was super sweet and hilarious.  Maggie did coin dropping or pelvic thrusting, but she's 10 so that would have been weird.

A come to Jesus discussion was had after the performance about lying and disobeying by bringing coins on stage.  Then all was made well by a cup of frozen yogurt drowned in gummies, captain crunch, and mochi.  It was a classic Smith family night.  That's the good stuff, right?

I love my little life...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is it so wrong...

...that I am flattered that the garbage man said, "Good Morning, Beautiful" to me as I was walking by?  Answer is probably yes, but hey, 40 year old ladies don't turn many heads so I'm ok with it.  And I was really rockin my exercise clothes today.  Um hmmm, lookin good.  Sad.

The hubs is sick.  Not like "man cold" sick, but flu sick.  I spent yesterday taking us to the doc so we could all get tamiflu.  Awesome.  So grateful for that drug, though, because it really really helps.  Poor Ian.  He's strugs.

So a couple weeks ago Ian decided to start doing "Chubbiest Loser" with my brother and about 100 other guys.  They spend a few months starving themselves and trying to lose the most weight and win $700.  It's been so good for all of us because it is SO much easier to eat right when Ian is on board too. I mean, not that it's his fault, but if he's eating oreos or having a drink then I'm gonna join him.  He's lost about 10 pounds, I think.  I've done pretty much the same thing and gained a pound last week.  Why. Why. Why.

Last week I went shopping for a new dress to wear to a wedding we went to last weekend.  I took Oprah's advice about jeans and decided that I was just going to try on a million dresses until I found one that worked.  The very last dress in my dressing room (after an hour of trying) was the one I chose, and it really is pretty.  The funny-ish part of the story is that as I tried on dresses I would go out to the three way mirror (think "What Not to Wear") and the sales lady would give me her opinion.  Sidenote: I love it when these folks are honest.  Please do sugar coat it, but tell me the truth in there somewhere.  So I came out in one dress that was borderline snug and I asked her opinion.  She said that it was a little snug, but "if you had on your shapers it might be ok," to which I replied, "Sister, I HAVE on my shapers."  Awesome.    So I left that department and went to another one where I could find someone who would lie to me.

Department two was more my speed...ladies' dresses that aren't skin tight and so short that my
Spanks hang out the bottom.  In the adjacent dressing room was a woman in her late 50's who was also coming out to the mirror for some "truth."  As I walked out I made the mistake of asking her if she thought the dress I was wearing was too snug.  You know where this is going... she said (and I quote), "Well, if you had on your shapers it might be ok."  This time I just said, "Yeah, you're probably right."  Apparently I am in the "double up the Spanks" stage of life.

So now I am adding this comment to the list of What Not to Say Ever to Another Woman Ever:

  • Are you pregnant? (The old standby)
  • When are you expecting?
  • Oh your daughter/son is SO TINY! (No shiz)
  • If you had on your shapers...
Cautionary tale and good reminder for me that we never know what's going on in another person's head space.  Every day is a battle to believe the TRUTH about who we are, and to balance that with being healthy, loving and lovely.  

The wedding was awesome.  I felt great.  Loved my dress.  Went with the single shaper...and guess what, I survived.  Even felt beautiful because I know who I am and WHOSE I am.  And because Ian is awesome and makes me feel like a million bucks.  (And, ok, I had a little wine).