What Are You Living For?

When the morning dawn breaks,

What are you thinking?

What are your goals for the day?

Are you building bridges or mending fences?

Or are you leaving them in disarray?

This one day may be all you have.

How do you want to be remembered?

Have you gone after your dreams?

Or are they laying in shambles

The influence on others no more

To be seen.

Search your heart, search your mind.

How are you spending your time?

If today were your last day,

What would you do different?

Would you care?

Would you reach out?

The choice is yours…

And mine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Things Just Don’t Make Sense

People can be strange, people can be cruel,

Life is a bit odd at times when you can’t accept all of the rules.

Does anyone think for themselves anymore?

Or are they victims of the times… the news-fake or not,

Why can’t they just choose

To search out the truth,

The things their minds can’t comprehend.

Are they brain washed-are you? Am I?

The easy path sometimes we take,

Robots-afraid to try

To look beyond the “norm.”

We create our perfect storm

Of racism, politics & bias,

The older we get, the more they want to try us.

Everything is political-the almighty dollar reigns supreme.

Human caring is sacrificed on the alter of “me.”

 

Into the Night

Into the Storm,

Going head first.

No turning back,

But fearing the worse.

Always the black sheep,

I never fit in.

Trying to do the right thing,

But I could never win.

Racking my brain,

Where did I go wrong?

Begging for your acceptance,

But you’re so headstrong.

I wish I knew what goes on in your brain,

Not listening to reason,

And feeling no shame,

For the way things have turned out.

All I ever wanted

Was for you to be proud of me.

Somehow I failed you,

No chances left to be.

Despite it all,

I will never stop

Doing the right thing,

Doing what’s right,

Even though we have come

Face to face

With the night. ©

IMG_20160724_123815815

Revival

Once upon a time,

Or so the story goes.

Caught between the girl I used to be

And what I have become.

Longing even,

For those carefree days

Before feigned love

Seared my soul

And sought to control

The Me I always was.

Me-an anomaly.

Deep down I am still there,

Though forces try to keep me subdued.

Cold souls.

Then I notice the Daffodils,

Beautiful, vibrant, persistent

Glimpses of Spring,

Extremely tolerant of cold.

Reminding me that

The me I used to be

Is likewise bursting forth,

Chasing the cold away.

As the sun and hints of summer

Burst forth in my innermost being,

Searing the doubt, the pain, the gloom.

To a “happily ever after”

Where I-“me” can shatter the ice,

Love myself again,

And once again bloom.

sunrise-1107408_960_720

 

Stephanie  ©

Clutter

Clutter: (noun) A collection of things lying about in an untidy mass (google search). We’ve all experienced it, maybe we still are. I know I still am. The more I try to get rid of, it seems to multiply.

Some people collect antiques. I used to be enthralled with antiques. It seems they had a story to tell. I still find it hard to “get rid of ” those things that I know are exceptionally old. I have a little red chair that was my dad’s when he was two years old. My dad was born in 1928, so that makes it 87 years old. I wouldn’t part with it for anything as I also sat in it as a child, as did my kids. I put it on display as part of the memorabilia at his funeral.

Time-we all have the same amount, yet it seems to go by so quickly. What are we doing with the precious time we have?

Recently, there has been some remodeling going on in my house. Talk about clutter! Having to move stuff out of the way just to get started! It’s funny (sad?) to look at some of the things that I purchased & wonder why I thought I needed it then. The perils of youth.

Once upon a time, I thought I had all kinds of time. The truth is, time is so finite. I will be 53 in a little over a month. I remember when my dad turned 50, and he joked how he was “half a century old.” I was 14 at the time. The time we all think we are invincible. His mother, my paternal grandmother, died the following January in 1979. That was the first experience I had with the death of someone close to me. She was our (my brother and myself) primary caregiver when my parents were at work when we we were small children. She was 78.

Aging doesn’t bother me. Not living life to the fullest does. I have found that there is so much “clutter” that can get in the way of truly living. We give up what brings us joy to follow the patterns of the world system. We do stuff because we “have to,” not because we really “want to.” Sure, it is sometimes polite to do those things to bring joy to others. But as I reflect back, sometimes I did things kicking and screaming because it was the expectation. We fall under others’ needs/wants. If it isn’t given freely & joyfully, what is the point?

For instance, we go to or give to an event that we could really care less about because it is the expectation and we are afraid of what others will think if we don’t show up or give. Why do we live our lives like that-a lie?

Clutter-cluttered surroundings, cluttered mind. At least that’s what the experts say. I need to close my eyes and pitch things. It is hard. It is like throwing a piece of my history away. Yet, I look at things now with eternity in mind. Do I really need to spend a lot on stuff that will outlive me? I’d rather spend my hard earned dollars on experiences and on bringing joy to others.

I know there are those who live by the motto, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!” Tomorrow being any time in the future. Our lives can become so cluttered with others’ opinions, beliefs, facebook  posts, and lifestyles, that we start to lose sight of ourselves and our future.

I am in a process of “uncluttering” of material possessions, relationships, and things that don’t bring me joy. I want to leave a legacy of truth, a mark of being real and transparent. I have had enough of fakery in my lifetime. I have had enough of shallow people and relationships. If someone can’t be real with me, I don’t need them in my life. I don’t want them in my life.

At 52 going on 53, I’ve had enough superfluous relationships to sink a proverbial ship! And if I can’t be true to me, I can’t be true to anyone else either. I have come to the realization that I cannot be held responsible for others’ reactions/opinions to or about me. That is on them. I am responsible for me and me only. There is freedom in de-cluttering. Try it, you may discover a hidden treasure.

Peace,

Stephanie

From the Womb to the Tomb

I have “suffered” from depression most of my adult life. I use that term lightly as it has not been the crippling sort that keeps me from doing what I need to do daily. When my kids were small and I was working full time nights, I was seriously sleep deprived. I wanted to be there for them during “normal” hours, so I sacrificed sleep to try to be there for them & attend their functions. It was difficult at best. I beat myself up- a lot.

There is one particular instance that bereaves my heart. It was “donut day” at the elementary school my youngest son attended. That meant that the parent showed up at a certain time (I think it was 9 o’clock) to have a donut with their child. It was a day that my daughter attended preschool and I stayed up after working all night to take her to preschool. I would “nap” during that time, then go pick her up. I had planned on attending “donut day” but ended up sleeping right through it. My son showed up at the cafeteria and I wasn’t there. I WASN’T THERE. The mom wasn’t there. It still haunts me to this day to see his little face when he came home from school & asked me why I WASN’T THERE.

If it weren’t for being a responsible adult when my kids were still at home, I would have slept all the time. I didn’t, I went about my daily routine and taking care & providing for them the best I knew how. They never went without. I wish I could have given them the moon. I wish I could have attended ALL of their functions. I tried. God, how I tried.

I was always made to look like the bad guy. Me, the one who tried to “fix” everything. My parents pretty much despised one another. At least I know my mother hated my dad. My dad always tried to do the right thing. Maybe that’s where I get it. He had a completely dry sense of humor that I suppose, got him through things. I pretty much inherited that. He wasn’t perfect by any means, but he wasn’t “mean.”

I wanted to “fix” things so badly for my parents. I only saw them kiss once as I was growing up. When I saw the wedding picture of my parents for the first time I  told my grandmother, “That was mom & dad when they liked each other.” I wanted so desperately for them to at least “like each other.” They existed together, for me and my brother I guess.

Fast forward to my own marriage and divorce, three children later. I never wanted to have a “broken” family. Yet, it happened. The “church” world as I knew it then (and attended) placed so much emphasis on the “obedience” thing. Yet, in my situation, the MAN did not care to provide for his family yet told me that I was to “Fucking submit” to him. That was biblical, I’m sure. A woman can only do so much, but when divorce happens, the woman is most often to blame (in the legalistic church world that is).

Life is difficult. From the womb to the tomb, we struggle. We live, we love, we sacrifice, we give it our all. We are misunderstood. I miss the days of my innocent youth. The days when I had LOTS of female friends and life was so carefree and unrestricted.

Depression hurts. I wish I had the knowledge and resources that are available today, back then. Maybe I would have handled things differently. Maybe I would have stood up for myself a little more. Maybe my kids would understand & not think so poorly of me. Maybe they would come around more. Maybe I am delusional to think any of that.

Nevertheless, I am whole, I am free, I am in the last phase of my life. From the womb to the tomb. We live, we love, we learn. We can’t make people love us or want to be with us, even if it is our own flesh.

I am thankful for friends. I am thankful for the GIFT of running. I am thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ who understands how broken & fallible I am. I am thankful for life. Health is everything. Though my mother forsakes me, I am thankful that I am free. I am thankful that though “religion” has disillusioned me, I still know that there is a savior who conquers “religion”and knows my heart. I am thankful that depression is under His feet & will NOT be the victor.

I am thankful for humor. I can only be myself, who God meant for me to be.

It’s your outlook on life that counts. If you take yourself lightly & not too seriously, pretty soon you find the humor in our everyday lives. And sometimes it can be a life saver.”- Betty White

 

View From the Rear

Alas, another year has come & gone. It really puts things in perspective on how fast time flies when I find snacks that I swore I bought a couple of weeks ago and they are dated October 4, 2016!  I guess I didn’t want them as bad as I thought I did at the time or they would have all been gone-ah, hindsight!

Hindsight – (noun) Understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed.

How many things can you look back on that happened in 2016 (or prior) and have a little more understanding now? I can think of lots of things. My overactive brain is always in “go” mode & in hindsight I should write them down when they pop in my head, lest I forget (and have) most of them.

I kind of, sort of, (snicker/snort) like to run and enjoy competition with myself. Race wise I ran two marathons, six half marathons, two 10ks, six 5ks, one 4 miler, and  10, 15, & 20 mile technical trail runs. I kind of like bling too (e.g. medals). Total running miles for the year = 1,375. That is probably not a lot of miles for some runners. In hindsight, that it is the equivalent of running from my little town in Missouri to Las Vegas, give or take a couple of miles (1,377.4 miles or a 19 hour drive). That seems like a lot for me, although my total was a bit more in 2014, less in 2015. There is always room for improvement and growth.

I try to change things up so as not to get too bored. One way in which I sought to do this was through technical trail runs. I have ran four total and I love being out in nature among the quiet and serene. I have fallen three out of the four. I’m just a clumsy butt. The last one on 11/12/16, a 25k, was a beautiful course. I had run the 10k of this race in2015 (my first), so I decided it was time to up the ante. I had run a marathon two weeks prior, so I thought 15 miles would be a breeze. Well, it’s trails so…lots of autumn leaves and rocks/roots under those leaves. I fall down go boom boom on my left side at mile 11-hard. I finished strong, but was oh so glad to be done!

In hindsight, I should not have ran that race, or I should have at least taken sufficient time to heal, but I really had no pain when I was running. I went on to run a 1/2 marathon a week later and a 5k four days after that, again with no problems, or so I thought. I tried to run with the group the following Sunday and my left knee started giving me pain. I rested a couple days and took short run/walks the rest of the week. On 12/4/16, I was feeling pretty good, so decided to run four miles. The first mile was great-no pain! Mile two was a little sketchy and in hindsight, I should have quit and called for a ride. I am MUCH to stubborn and gave it all I had to get back to my house. That was truly my last official “run” for the year. My knee was trashed. I managed an 8:38 pace, so there’s that, ha, ha!

Having one last 5k for the year-my 20th “race” for the year, I was determined I was not going to miss it. It would be my husband’s first 5k and I was not going to let him down. I thought I would just run very conservatively, maybe around a 10-11 minute/mile pace. Who the heck was I trying to kid? Well myself of course! In hindsight I was delusional! I tried to jog (in very bad shoes)! This was after I got my “boogie” on at a pre-race costume/dance competition. Approaching the first mile, I was wishing I had just signed up for the one miler! I limped/walked for the next 2.1 miles.

christmaslight5k-2016-3874-l
Photo Credit: Mile 90 Photography

View from the rear: I am not the fastest runner, nor the slowest. I am more of a “mid-packer.” My very first 5k as a runner back in 2007, was a walk/run dare. My time was around 48 minutes. My PR in the 5k is 0:23:11 9/6/15. This jog/limp was around 48 minutes. But oh, the sights I saw! I saw grit and determination from those who are always bringing up the rear. I saw walkers and families with strollers and dogs having a great time run/walking all lit up in costume and lights. People came out of their homes to watch and say, “Merry Christmas.” I was able to thank the volunteers and the police officers. I tortured people with my singing “Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer.” I shouted to the runner in the “A Christmas Story” bunny suit, “Speed up you Wascally Wabbit.” My son and daughter in law passed me. They were the cutest. It was a beautiful December night.

In hindsight, I gained a whole new perspective. Way too much emphasis is placed on “speed.” That is fine if one is trying to qualify for an event, but we are all different. At my peak, running too slow is uncomfortable. My best times have come when I wasn’t even trying. The people I saw from the rear had this figured out-have fun, take it all in, and enjoy the journey. Despite the pain, I still got my bling!_20161225_111826

 

Lessons Learned: 

Heed the warnings of your body. What may have been an little issue in the past, could be disaster in the future. I ended up having a lateral meniscus injury that threw me into IT band problems by my leg trying to protect my knee. I am on the mend and have a wonderful chiropractor to thank for that. I should be able to do my first race at the end of the month.

Trail races are great for the non-clumsy, although even the swift and nimble have been known to fall a time or two as well.

After care in running is hugely important, especially as we age. If we want things to function well, we best take care of what we have.

Old dogs have joint issues as well and need lots of hugs and cuddles._20161214_201429

 

Life and running does not always have to be FAST. In hindsight, the caboose who thinks he/she can, eventually will -with determination and effort.

Temporary set backs are just that-temporary (remember the expired snacks)? Although when you’re going through it, it seems like forever which brings me to my next point.

It really is all about perspective and attitude. _20170106_091359

Goals are important but none are as important as your health. My main goal as a runner this year: _20170101_112832

In hindsight, what are your goals for the new year and beyond?

“There’s not a better feeling than when you have found that moment of balance and harmony when both running & life come together. Then you know why you run and that you couldn’t live without it.”-Joan Benoit Samuelson

Have a great January and beyond. Cheers to the New Year!

Stephanie

Living in the Present, Reflecting on the Past (Part 2)

Well, well. Here we are again. Thanksgiving is over & the holidays are upon us. Yes, I said HOLIDAYS are upon us because there is more than one holiday UPON US! I really don’t care if you say “Happy Holidays” or whatever it is that you celebrate, as long as you have the same respect for me. When it is Christmas, I will say “Merry Christmas,” that is, if I know you. Let’s be real-we do live in a “tossed salad” society where many do not celebrate the Christian holidays. Is not Hanukkah just as important to our Jewish friends? I will not get into a debate with anyone on the politically correct way to address the “holidays.”

So how was your Thanksgiving? It can be a sad time for some this time of year. Some have very little family and there are those who have strained relationships with their family. People find a way to get together if they really want to, whether it is a “holiday” or not. It just so happens that many people jointly have that day off. I can remember a time when hardly anything was open on Thanksgiving day except for maybe a grocery store or two until noon. One better make sure that they had all they needed for the “fixins” or they were out of luck!

Times have really changed. I guess every generation says that because nothing every stays the same. Would you really want it to? What about this? (photo credit-not mine)typing-class

I had typing 1,2, & 3 in high school and it is one of the things that has served me well in life. At my best (back then) I could type 90 words a minute, accurately. For some odd reason, they made us take a test on the old peck away typewriter. I flunked that test! The rest of the time we were on big IBM typewriters like the ones in the photo. Now we have “text speak” and voice to text. I would argue that one still needs relatively decent typing skills for any level of higher education. I can’t imagine writing a scholarly paper without it.

I’m on the fence with texting. I think it is a great tool to convey messages when you are short on time or just need a yes/no answer or vague instructions on something. What I LOATHE is when someone wants to have a conversation that way. If that’s the case-JUST MAKE A DAMN PHONE CALL! Texting is just another way of depersonalizing a relationship (my opinion of course). PLUS the message can be so misconstrued. 7bed52aeba266517a8f66f6cc37df2bf

The wind is howling outside my window as I write this. Such a stark difference from yesterday when it was sunny and low 50s. It was November 26, and I was able to hang clothes outside to dry-you know, on a clothesline like at the top of this blog. It made me laugh and saddened me at the same time when a little neighbor boy asked me what that was as he pointed to it. I use it all the time in warm weather. I guess it is becoming as much of an antique as I am! There is nothing like the fresh smell of clothes that have been line dried.

_20160818_144050

I long for the simpler things in life. It seems that many things have gotten so complicated. Technology is a great tool when used right. It is also a bane when it screws up. Software updates are often a complete headache. Communication gets all out of whack when that happens. One of the things they stressed when writing research papers in nursing school was to “save and save often.” This was in case of a glitch so one’s hard work would not be lost.

Life is kind of like that. Life gets busy and complicated (many times by our own doing). We lose contact with those whom we are suppose to be close to. The software doesn’t get updated and things get all out of whack. The antiques are replaced and forgotten by the newer versions. Relationships aren’t saved and opportunities for memories are lost forever.

5a05702f8e44518172309eb93a5737ca

One thing I’ve learned since turning a half century old is that experience is not just the best, but the ONLY teacher in much of life. Those who come after will have to learn that lesson too. I am what I am. Love me or hate me, I am the same with everyone. I will not treat anyone differently if I see them at a regular function or out in public when “important” people are around. I won’t put on a facade to impress people. What you see is what you get. I don’t/won’t apologize for that.

I like to run, and I like to talk about running. I also like to talk about history. If you like to knit, then knit. Whether it’s cooking, bowling, fishing, crafting, biking, mountain climbing, sewing, woodworking, weight lifting, whatever-do it and talk about it! Lord knows we are all SICK to death of politics. Post pictures, brag a little, share your story. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just be sure you are showing the same respect to others. Respect is a lost art. Imagine what the work place would look like if everyone truly respected each other and had good attitudes. Wow-Utopia!

The next few weeks will go quickly and Christmas will be here. It is the holiday that I celebrate. Then there will be the New Year and all the quirky resolutions. So to that end I will say, “Happy Holidays & a Wonderful New Year!” Now go out and make some memories and “save and save often!”

1456075_602915556424183_1818478058_n
Hope you haven’t been REALLY BAD!

Have a great December,

Stephanie

 

Ten Reasons Why Thanksgiving is My Favorite Holiday

Today is November 15, 2017-eight days until Thanksgiving. Here is an impromptu list of why this is my favorite holiday:

Halloween Is Over. Sure it’s a cute “holiday,” but really isn’t a holiday as no one gets to take off work. No work days are ALWAYS holidays. As a nurse this is even more true. A day off in my world is a license to eat and rest and do whatever the heck I want! Even if that means eating left over Halloween candy.

The Election is Over. You’re probably wondering why this is in the number nine slot.Let’s face it-it was more entertaining than all of the Halloween costumes and fanfare. Some have yet to shed their devil horns though, and there are still clowns out on the streets behaving like pre-schoolers in a Toys R Us when their favorite toy has sold out.

It is Less Humid. For those whom this does not apply, look away. Heat is one thng, humidity is another, especially if you are a runner.

Nature is At It’s Most Beautiful. Let’s face it, Spring is pretty when things start to bloom out, but the weather is fickle and at times drizzly, and dreary and such. The colors of fall-Ah, God’s paintbrush at it’s finest!  _20161115_132519

 People Seem Nicer. To me, Thanksgiving marks the official start of the holiday season. Christmas lights come on, greedy sales start, and people are generally a little nicer contemplating getting their “feast” on. Happy bellies= happy people, or maybe they just pass out from eating too much and have no energy to be mean.

It’s Not About Shopping. Speaking of greedy sales- have you ever heard of a pre-Thanksgiving sale that starts say, in July? No, everything starts the eve of Thanksgiving to get ready for the “gimmies.”  You haven’t lived until you see a couple of women fight over a pair of $7.OO jeans. Does that happen with frozen turkeys? I think not! It’s the only major holiday not dependent on huge sales.

The Hungry Are Fed. People are generally more philanthropic. You don’t know what that means? Look it up. Suffice it to say, there are those who genuinely CARE that people get fed-the homeless, the shut-ins. It’s giving based on the basic human need of hunger & need, not the greediness of want.

Togetherness.It’s the only major holiday where people actually get together because they want to. Think about it-you can eat any time, anywhere. Although there are those who just “make an appearance,” and eat and run, people are at least forced to sit and stare at each other over mashed potatoes and gravy for an indeterminate amount of time.

The Mayflower

Memories. And my number one reason for preferring Thanksgiving over all others is because of the memories it brings to mind. I remember as a kid going to my grandmother’s house and stuffing myself silly and having “big belly” contests with my brother. Christmas seemed a long way off and everyone seemed to like each other. It became even more meaningful after having kids and starting traditions like baking sugar cookies. The smell of turkey and pumpkin pie & eating leftovers the next day-priceless!

_20161115_153707
Son Ryan, 1990

The world is certainly a different place, or so it seems to me. Maybe we would all do better to look at things through the eyes of a child again, and make a wish while snapping a wishbone.

10933297_10205754944658984_1368109237_n

Talk at ya later!

Stephanie

 

P.S. My legs are hungover from many weeks of racing…in case you wondered.

 

The Glass Half Full

Life Begins When You Let It

Well now-it has been well over a month since I last attempted a blog post. Sometimes my brain gets so overloaded with ideas that it is easier to do nothing until something stirring happens. I have plenty of races to blog about, but for sake of time, I will condense those at a later date (and eventually get back to living in the present while reflecting on the past).

Today is Halloween by the date on our Gregorian calendar. I won’t get off on a tangent about the history of the “holiday” as much as I’d like too. I will just say that people sometimes major in the minors about the “to celebrate or not” as it implies to the “pagan” background More importantly, I returned home today from a four day trip to Washington, DC. Annie the orphan pup was glad to be home from the sitter &…

View original post 1,232 more words