Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Friendship is a tricky thing.  For some folks, it comes easily - it's easy for them to trust someone new with their heart; it's easy for them to invite a stranger in and say, "Look!  We're the same!"; it's easy for them to share their story.

But, like marriage, friendship also takes some work.  You water it with words of love and kindness.  You feed it with deeds of caring and sharing.  You light it with the sunshine of connection and faithfulness.  And sometimes if you do all of those things, a friendship grows.

You can also destroy a friendship.  You water it with criticism and judgment.  You feed it comparison and dislike.  You put it in a dark place with none of your time or devotion.  And a friendship dies.

And sometimes, life itself decides that a friendship must end.  Death is a tragic way to end a friendship.  All other ways can be undone, but not this.

I lost a dear, sweet friend this week.  The type of inspirational woman who deserved a miracle.  The type who believed in miracles herself.  There are two boys who no longer have the friendship of their mother, and that breaks my heart.  There's a good man who no longer has the friendship of his wife, his best friend, and that seems so unfair.  For all of my sadness, though, there's a lesson.

Open yourself to friendship.  Tend and care for those you already have.  Yes, friendship is work but it is absolutely worth it because a true friend cannot be replaced.

Blessings, my friends.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

If You Give a Mom a Sticker

If you give a mom a window sticker

She will want to put it on her minivan.

Before she can put it on the window, she will need to clean it.

If she's going to clean the window, she may as well wash the entire vehicle.

When she's done washing the vehicle, she will fastidiously clean all of the windows.  Inside AND out.

When she's through cleaning the windows, she will take a break from the scorching heat and get a drink.

While she's inside getting a drink, she'll notice that it's lunchtime.

When she's finished eating lunch, she'll remember that she needs to flip the laundry.

While she's folding clothes, she'll remember that she hasn't showed yet (don't judge).

When she's all done showering and dressing, it will be almost time to pick up the kids.

She will collect all of the running gear, snacks, water bottles and coolers for the cross-country meet in time.  (She will not, however, remember the printed directions which is OK because they were for the wrong location anyway).

While she's driving to school, it will start to rain.

She will cuss a little.

She will turn on the rear windshield wiper and when she does she will notice that



Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Running with a Friend

I've been running consistently for years now - over 4 - and I've never really run with anyone (not counting races) until recently.  I was so thankful during half marathon training this year (Pittsburgh) to be running "virtually" with my good friend Kandi, but it's not quite the same.  It was great to have someone to whom I felt accountable but that still left me without someone for conversation on the road. 

I am a faithful follower of the Another Mother Runner tribe and they talk a lot about having a BRF (best running friend).  I never really got it - until now.  I'll admit, I was nervous about taking this step in my running career so I thought maybe others might have some apprehensions, too.  Here's my top ten list for finding and running with a friend:

1.  If someone asks, GO!  You might not know the person well but that doesn't mean you can't get to know them.  You might think you're only a solo runner, but if you've NEVER run with a buddy you can't really say that for certain.  Even if you're not a typically social person, it might just be good to have someone push you a bit.

2.  Don't let speed influence your decision - but be honest.  If your potential running partner runs a sub-7:00 mile and you're closer to 14:00, it might not be the best match.  But if they only run that 7 min mile during speed work and they run a lot slower for long runs, give it a go!  Just make sure they know it.  And don't convince yourself that the other person is WAY faster unless you ask. 

3.  Don't let age be a determining factor.  I'm no spring chicken (43 used to seem O-L-D) but my new running friend is..  She's younger but she doesn't seem to mind that I'm not as hip and cool as I used to be (Oh, who am I kidding...I was NEVER hip or cool.  But I was young once!).

4.  Don't let size matter.  I know, it's hard to look at someone who is much smaller and think you can't keep up but I have NEVER been in a race and NOT been passed by someone who is much heavier.  I've also passed plenty of folks who are much leaner.  Runners come in ALL shapes and sizes - Runner's World had a great article about it! (I can't find the link - I think it was the July issue)

And now on to the logistics:

5.  If you sign up, show up.  Obviously, circumstances change (and my new running partner and I have both had to bail at the last minute - that's life with kids...and husbands) but our running situation is not just about us - we run while our kids run with their XC team (that's cross country).  But if it was just the two of us, I would make much more of an effort to not let her down.

6.  Leave the tunes at home.  Now, this one should be obvious but some people are addicted to running with music (*raises hand*).  However, conversation is a lot easier if you don't have your ear buds in. 

7.  Bring the tissues.  This is a reminder specific to me - I swear, my nose runs faster than I do!  Apparently, it's a common issue.  And I forgot my Kleenex the first couple of times.  Thank goodness it was so humid!

8.  Don't be afraid to spit.  Runners do it, so there's a good chance your new buddy won't even notice (true story:  happened to us last night)(there were A LOT of bugs).

9.  Allow yourself to be pushed out of your comfort zone.  I'll admit, I'm mostly a comfortable runner - there are days when I hit it hard, especially if I'm training for something specific, but for an evening run (especially after a long day), I'm not as likely to push.  But I'm a bit competitive and I also can't say no, so if she asks if I wanna?  I go!  And I love every minute of it.  I really enjoy a good hill (when I'm done), so if time permits, we kill the hill.  But if I was alone?  Naaaaah.

10.  Discuss your limitations before you go.  I have never run on a trail (like, ever) (I know, right?) so I made sure to mention that before our first outing.  I was really worried we would end up running through the woods being chased by a bear (or a rabid groundhog)(whatever).

So there you have it - my top ten tips for running with a friend.  I am very lucky that my first time trying turned out so well, but if it doesn't for you, don't give up!  There are A LOT of runners out there, whole entire running groups even!  Find one!

*waves enthusiastically*  Hi, Beth!  Hope you made it to the end!  Thanks for being the guinea pig on my running with a friend excursions!

Do you run with a friend? A group?

What are some tips you have?

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Summer My Baby...Wasn't One Anymore

Nick was my favorite baby.
Until his brother was born 21 months later. 

This summer, he's not a baby any more.  He's a man-child, growing up before my very eyes.  He had his most recent physical last week.  He's 5'5" tall and 103 (!) pounds - Yes, he finally broke the century mark on the scale. 

He still doesn't like change, but he's changing - growing bigger, yes, but that happens every year.  This year, the change is bigger - he's becoming a man before our very eyes.

As parents, our job will always be to provide the necessities - food, clothing, shelter, and love.  Always love. 

How we show love is as individual as each person (although the 5 Love Languages are pretty accurate...), but make no mistake - we all show it.  The best advice I have ever heard regarding love is that just because someone doesn't love you in the way you want or expect doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have, in the best way they know how.

I'll miss a lot of the little boy that he used to be but what's hardest for me to lose is his voice.  There's no more little boy voice.  No more, "Mommy, please don't say me no!" (When he wanted something and he was SURE I wouldn't allow it).  I wish I had more video, more recordings because it was SO sweet and special - the first one I ever heard call me "Mommy".  The one who gave all of his grandparents' their nicknames (Papa, Grandma-Grandma, and Grandma - it's complicated).

I will miss it...but I hope his new voice is strong.  That it speaks out against what he knows to be wrong and speaks up about what he knows to be right.  That it strongly proclaims his beliefs.  That he lifts it up sweetly in song and prayer to The Lord.  That he whispers softly to those smaller and weaker.  That he yells boldly to those who might try to talk down to him.  And that he always, always speaks his mind...but with love.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


I've been noticing a disturbing trend lately.  There's no respect for children.  (And I'm not referring to the scandal currently in the news)(If you don't know what THAT refers to, Greetings!  Welcome to Planet Earth!).

My primary job as a mommy of four is to raise kind, respectful, generous, contributing, helpful, faithful and loving human beings.  And while there are days I certainly feel like I fall short, most of the time I think Greg and I are doing OK.

Taking all 4 of them grocery shopping tends to bring out the best and/or worst in all of us.  I am primarily focused on them showing respect and courtesy to others.  If someone is in our way, we say excuse me.  If we are in someone else's way, we say excuse me.  We smile politely when people say we have our hands full (This one is all me...).  We hold the door for the person behind us (even if that person is our annoying little sister). We thank someone if they hold the door for us.  We try not to yell at the moron who yanks his car into our lane unannounced (again, that might be just me...).  If someone drops something, we pick it up for them.  We treat those behind the counter with the same manners - always, ALWAYS saying "Please" and "Thank you". (Again, it shocks me how many folks just...don't).

But today I noticed that other shoppers do not show those same courtesies to children.  We were using the restroom and Grace was holding the main door open while ladies walked in and out.  Now, granted, she was doing that because she wanted to leave and her sister hadn't finished yet but those coming through didn't know this. 

At one point there were maybe 3-4 women in there that had passed her.  She finally looked at me a little puzzled and said, "Mommy, no one said 'Thank you'".  And she was absolutely right.  So, in my big girl voice I said, "Honey, you're right. But that doesn't mean that just because other people are rude and don't use manners we should stop doing things for them."  Was that rude?  Maybe.  But I'm more than a little tired of this trend.  Children are not less than.  They are not annoyances to be griped about.  Constantly.

As we were leaving that restroom, I relieved her of door-duty and of course, someone walked in and of course, I held the door and of course, she thanked me. 

It's been a summer of shopping every week with an entourage and, probably because I have a comparison now to what it's like to shop alone, I've noticed how people treat us differently when the kids are along.  They will rudely open a freezer door right into my kid's face.  They will stand silently and glare until they are noticed and the kids move out of their way (If someone just says, "Excuse me!" they move immediately; If someone says, "Excuse me! EXCUSE ME! EXCUSEME!" without taking a breath, well, then they've pretty much just lost my respect)(True story). 

And when people act like that - like they have no manners - my kids always look at me, puzzled.  I just point out that not everyone has learned to be respectful.  And yes, depending on the person, I may say it loud enough for them to hear me.  Because, you guys, I'm going to call you on it.  If you can say it to me or the guy with all of the tattoos then you should certainly be able to say it to the teenager with the nose ring or my loud and boisterous kids, too. 

When we check out, our entourage typically takes up the entire check-out aisle.  If the secondary lane is open for business I do my best to keep us to single file.  Today, there was no need except that people were using that aisle to walk UP into the store.  Three people did this.  One (1!) said excuse me - a lovely young woman in traditional Indian clothing.  Is it so hard?  To recognize that they're little people learning how to navigate the world by how they are treated?  To treat them kindly?  Respectfully, even?

It's a trend.  And a very disturbing one at that.  I'm so thankful that I'm raising non-trendy people.