Treadmill

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She’s gone.

She died a slow, painful, sputtering death almost two months back now.

Her last leg was 13.1 miles on a very cold, winter day.

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A personal best, if there is such a thing on a treadmill, was a great way to go out.

What is a girlfriend to do when her best friend leaves her with no fallback plan?

After all purchasing a new treadmill during the post Christmas/ New Year’s health kick rush is not fiscally prudent.

And living without a daily run was not an option according to the girls who loudly and very vocally told everyone they knew that their Momma was not fun to be around when she missed a run.

That’s how I found myself one Saturday morning at the local gym purchasing a monthly membership and promising myself I would only come long enough to get me to  spring when treadmill prices would plummet.

In the intervening weeks from the time I joined until today, I have found myself in the throes of a metamorphosis. The woman who thought running was the only sport which would satisfy her soul has now found herself eagerly awaiting her strength training days.

She’s also found herself relishing the indoor track. My sprint runs have turned me into an athlete I didn’t think possible as I enter my 40’s.

And those people at the gym, I sort of find myself looking forward to seeing them each day. My crew, usually in the women’s only section, quietly motivates each other. I the recluse runner recognize the power of working out with a team.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still anxiously awaiting the day when I can once again respond to my 4:45am alarm, lace up my shoes and head downstairs for my morning run.

But, for now, I will be grateful that the death of something once deemed essential, was the catalyst for the birth of something new.

 

 

 

Here now

Haircuts and braids,

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string’s concerts,

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cuddling on the couch,

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books together before bed,

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budding artists and their designs,

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Valentine’s celebration’s.

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Always thinking far ahead when in reality, simply here, now, is were I need to be.

 

 

Here

I’m still here.

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While the celebrations have ended the marchers and the revelers gone home, there is a group of us day after day, week after week and year after year who remain, regardless of who occupies the Oval Office or gavels congress into session.

We wake up each day kiss our children and our partners and go about our work believing we make a difference in a world that for a very long time has viewed us as inconsequential.

We welcome your presence in this city. Whether you wore a pink or a red hat we applaud your enthusiasm.

We do have one request.

Don’t let this month or this week be just a Facebook picture or a Tweet. Let this be the beginning of your participation in our democracy.

If I may be so bold, may I offer you some advice from a well worn lobbyist?

Don’t save your vote for once every four years. When this spring rolls around and the polling places open again, please don’t tell us you aren’t voting. More is decided twice a year in the voting booth in your town then all year in Washington D.C.

Show up. No doubt at some point soon you will receive a mailer from your school board, your township trustee or even your congressional representative asking for your participation in a town hall or community conversation. Your first reaction should be to clear your calendar and to engage.

Turn off the TV and pick up a pen. Yes I said pen. Write your elected a letter. Start by thanking them for their service. Then let them know what you are thinking. Ask questions and offer to be a resource.

Speak with passion to your children about why you choose to engage in this great democracy. The last thing I want to see happen is this increased interest in the political process be fleeting. My hope is that my daughters will never question why they engage politically because being a part of the national conversation becomes an EXPECTATION of their generation.

One last thing. Pray for all of those that work daily in a place they believe has great beauty and even greater potential.

Until next time.
I’m not going anywhere.
I will be here when you return.

For When She Turned 10

Dear Audrey Hope,

Double digits kiddo.

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You’ve hit it.

10 is here.

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Happy Birthday!!!

Before we celebrate the big day, can I gush about you for a moment?

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You make your momma so incredibly proud.

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You are light and love and all things good in this world.

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You touch people with your generous spirit and your smile is as wide as a rainbow.

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You dance through each day. You radiate energy.

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Most importantly your presence in our lives is a reminder that this life is a joy to live.

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As you walk your way through your tenth year there are a few things I want you to remember.

You will accomplish great things.

You will move mountains and make this world a better place.

I know this as it was embedded on my heart the moment the nurse placed your head on my chest on January 12, 2007.

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Don’t give anyone the power to place doubts in your head about your abilities.

Follow the prompts of the quiet voice inside your heart. God is working in you.

Finally, don’t ever forget how loved you are. My love for you is immeasurable.

Enjoy this year and all the blessings it will bring.

Happy birthday my darling girl.

I thank God for choosing me to be your Momma.

I love you,

Momma

PS- This, this my love is what I want you to remember. Play it often and soak in the words- your birthday song.

 

 

Reflection

We took a break.

The four of us in a little bubble for 10 days.

We traveled.

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Saw ones we loved.

Woke up late and enjoyed our new toys.

It was a glorious holiday season.

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And when New Year’s Day rolled around I found myself wanting nothing more than to curl up with my girls and enjoy the last remnants of the season.

Now we are all back to school and work and activities. Finding myself in a reflective mood; so very grateful for the year that was.

The adventures we had, the dreaming we did.

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And as we begin a new season of dreaming, I realize what I want for this new year is all rather simple.

One of these little ladies is only 5 years away from moving out on her own.

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Soaking up her light in my home is my new year’s desire.

Helping her find her calling will be another.

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Gifted with a laptop for Christmas I’ve found her typing away on the keyboard. Essay’s and musings by Audrey Hope; that makes a Momma’s heart swell.

And this one, bringing up the rear.

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I will hold her more. I will carry her whenever she asks. I will read her stories before bed and sing her lullabies. Because, experience has taught me, I will not know the exact moment that it is the last time I carry her in my arms or loll her to sleep with an off key rendition of Baby Mine.

So that is how I will choose to live out this new year.

I’ve spent too many years looking back. This is my year to live in the present.

 

 

 

 

Tradition

It was that time.

Our yearly trek to the Christmas tree farm.

Determined this year to find the biggest one that these 4 sets of hands could cut down and haul back to the barn unassisted.

We hadn’t quite found a way to make it out earlier in the month when the weather was hovering in the low 50’s.

Instead, we managed to pick a 21 degree morning to put on our boots, pick up our saw and head out in search of holiday perfection.

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There was a pep talk first, which when looking at the picture makes one believe it was much more of the “stern warning” variety then the uplifting kind.

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Consensus was reached 20 minutes into our adventure;

after of course they all made their case for a tree they had “discovered”.

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Ultimately we did the happy dance when we found this guy.

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Then my phone died and with it the chance to document Momma on her side chopping down nine and a half feet of white pine goodness.

We warmed up with some pizza from our favorite pizza shop that’s right around the corner from the tree farm, then headed home to put her up.

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This year all 5’8 of Sid proved to be particularly helpful.

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She was the untangler of lights and Ellery Jane’s own personal ladder.

Audrey our comedic relief when Momma got frustrated with setback.

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Sometime around 4pm we stepped back to marvel at our doing.

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We’d done it again, together, our tradition.

Making memories, my team, my family.

 

 

 

This Joy

I heard his words.

This day, in this wooden pew, in this church in Cincinnati, Ohio, I listened.

As the priest told us how joy is not a state of mind but a condition we choose to live in;

a grace given by the father, all to often left unopened,

I nodded my head in agreement.

Looking to my right and left at the faces of those I cherished most in this world, I understood.

We do hard things.

We wrestle challenge.

But, each day, we make a choice to live in the grace he has provided.

The pain and the joy partners on this path.

“Momma are you crying”, she whispered in my ear.

“No tears today”, I whispered back;

just JOY.

from The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis:

 

To Serve

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Powerful moments that move our souls when we kneel at the feet of those who cannot carry the load.

We miss our Ziva girl and knew her passing meant the end of an era.

While we are unable to open our home in lifetime commitment to a four legged friend, we can certainly, offer our hearts over a Thanksgiving.

A home for his holiday.

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Gunner came to us for a brief 48 hours.

Full of love and cuddles.

A quiet soul looking for a place to rest his head.

Probably judged one too many times for the mix in his breed.

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In a perfect world this lovely old boy finds a place to spend his later years.

And in our world will remember him for the joy he brought to this moment.

If interested in adopting Gunner please contact Lindsey at the Humane Society of Delaware County.

http://www.hsdcohio.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To blink

She went from this

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to this

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in the blink of an eye.

And this one, just a second ago, was refusing bottles.

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Now she’s refusing the squash I make and talking me into getting her a facial.

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This one was once my baby.

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Now she’s my boss.

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The girls that I once carried,

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are now, carrying me.

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Muscle

Once a week Joe and I have a date.

We meet up at the back of the Fleet Feet store on Lane Avenue where he spends anywhere from 30-45 mins working me hard.

Joe is my physical therapist.

I’ve been battling pain in my hip and leg. It’s gone on for a very long time.

I traditionally had one of two approaches to handling the injury.

I self medicated with Aleve and continued to run

or

I would talk my primary care physician into giving me a cortisone injection (those usually occurred every 3 -6 months) and continue to run.

Both options masking the pain, never getting at the root of the problem.

The gig was up earlier this fall when the pain became so great my long runs were torture. My primary care doctor refusing to give me anymore cortisone, referred me to a sports medicine doctor who specialized in runners. After x-rays to rule out a few injuries the sports medicine doctor sent me to Joe for six weeks of PT. He said Joe was the best in the business when dealing with my type of injury.

On day one Joe laid out what I was up against, the work I had ahead of me.

After years of the same repetitive motion, one side of my body was weaker than the other.  My one hip dropping lower than it should.

Somewhere deep inside that hip, buried under other muscle, was one little muscle who had been doing a ton of work. That muscle was not strong enough to carry the load.

Over the last year other muscles around that little muscle had been trying hard to make up for its failings. The result was now the pain I felt in the larger muscles (my hamstring) and in my nerves, who had become irritated by the little muscle.

Pain as a result of ignoring the issue and not strengthening the muscle.

I didn’t realize how weak I was.

Isn’t that how life sometimes works? It takes another person to point out the areas of weakness we couldn’t see ourselves?

I have a half marathon in Rochester, NY on January 7.

Joe promises, if I do the work, it will be a pain free race.

Message heard clearly.

No longer masking the pain, weakness noted, I’ll be putting the time in to course correct.

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