Lesson in Patience

Patience…..something I have struggled with at different times throughout my life.

I was so impatient as a child that I would hunt for the Christmas presents and peek……and I continued to peek at presents well into my adulthood. No one knew I looked…..it was so easy to delicately peel back the tape, unwrap the gift and then rewrap the gift. My husband and boys figured it out though and each Christmas they would pride themselves on the massive amount of tape they would use for my gifts so I couldn’t peek. A lesson in patience.

Patience is difficult.

I want it NOW! I wanted to lose weight NOW! I wanted Christmas to come NOW! I wanted my babies to arrive NOW! Though I can find ways to be patient and can go long periods of time where I am living in the moment and slowing down, I do struggle with it.

Right now, I am struggling with being patient……

I often turn to God to help me learn to be more patient, too slow down and enjoy the moment rather than constantly look to the future.

And God has shown me that He has a sense of humor when it comes to helping me to learn patience.

Many years ago, when my youngest was in junior high, I had another lesson in patience…….a lesson in which God showed me His humor. I had been very impatient at that time and for weeks had been praying for patience and for help in slowing down. On this particular day I was late picking my son up from school and found myself behind one of those line painting vehicles on the highway…..we were driving 15mph in a 55mph zone…..ugh! At this rate I would NEVER get to the school and my son would not know why.

Then I remembered there was another route to take to get to his school, and though it was slightly longer, it would be faster on this day. So, I pulled a U-turn and stepped on the gas….I did not want to get rear-ended by a car coming up behind me. Before I knew it I was going FAST (not my fault….my husband’s car picked up speed too quickly) so I pulled my foot off the gas……too late!

Coming toward me at that moment was a sheriffs car……..and in my rear view mirror I saw his lights go on and he u-turned to catch me……..Yes, I was caught speeding in my haste to get somewhere quickly. Not only was I speeding, but the speed he tagged me at was high enough to warrant a reckless driving charge and a summons to go before the judge………..

I was mortified. I was scared. I had NEVER been pulled over. And I was now even later getting to the school to pick up my son…….lesson learned. Okay, God, I got it. I will slow down and breathe.

A lesson in patience was learned.

I would love to say that it only took one or two lessons to teach me to slow down, to appreciate the moment and to be patient…….but no…….I still struggle.

And now I find myself struggling to be patient in the healing of my foot. I want to go hiking. I want to go for a walk. I want to go to the zoo and Botanic Garden. I want to be pain free. And I want it all NOW!

And I am astounded that I miss being active, I miss my walks and I miss exercise. Me, the person who detested exercise, who made a million excuses to skip it, now misses it. And I am getting very impatient to get back to it.

The pain in my foot reminds me to slow down and be patient. Sometimes impatience can lead to unwanted consequences and I do not want to permanently damage my foot.

So patient I must be.

This injury to my foot is a reminder to take it slow, to step back and enjoy the moment and just breathe.

And is another lesson for me in patience.

Got it! Now it is time to move on…………

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I Took the Leap, Kept Breathing and I Made It!

I made it!

Today is my 52nd birthday and I am so relieved to have reached this milestone birthday.

A year ago, on my 51st birthday, I woke holding my breath, dreading the year. This morning I woke, thrilled and excited to celebrate my birthday.

I made it to the birthday my mom did not get to see. I miss her every day and today I know she is celebrating with me. Mom made such a big deal over our birthdays, always making the day extra special.

Today I am celebrating my birthday and so much more.

This year has truly been a year of taking the leap and just breathing. And in the process I have experienced things my mother only dreamed about, gone to places I have dreamed about and met people who have truly enriched my life. I have traveled roads I never imagined nor wanted to…..journeys that showed me just how strong I can be.

This year has been a journey of discovery, of really trusting and letting go.

And as I look forward to this next year, I am excited for all that it will bring. I am going to continue to live in the moment, challenge myself and yes, step outside my comfort zone.

Each day, week and month from this moment forward is one my mother didn’t get to experience. And I am going to enjoy each minute……the good and the bad, the easy and the difficult, the joyful and the sad, and those times that challenge me to step outside that box and push myself just a little more…….while sharing all of these life moments with mom.

And I am going to continue to take the leap and just breathe!

My First Half Marathon, it’s About More Than the Distance

The morning had finally arrived….the morning I was supposed to complete my first half marathon.

But life happened…….detours occurred……..and life stepped in the way in unexpected ways to keep me from starting and thus completing my first half marathon.

This past week I had to make a difficult decision about the race. 3 weeks ago, on my long training walk, the arch of my foot “popped” at mile 7. I was in immense pain and completing the 1.87 miles of that walk was difficult and long. But I made it home…….I really had no choice in the matter since I was 1.87 miles from home. My doctor ordered an x-ray, which showed that there was no fracture, so I took it easy on my foot. I rested, iced and taped my foot, hoping that something would make it better.

But nothing seemed to help.

After long conversations with my husband, I knew I needed to make a decision or risk a serious, long-term injury to my foot.

But my heart was not ready to do what my head knew I should do.

You see, the half marathon was about more than 13.1 miles. It was about more than crossing the finish line and receiving a medal.

Over the course of this past year, the half marathon became a symbol for me……a symbol of all that I have experienced this year………of the all the moments where I stepped outside my comfort zone…….of all the moments that I had to be stronger than I thought I could ever be…….of all that I cried about, laughed about and prayed about……..of all that I survived this year……..of all that I overcame and the personal growth that resulted………about all of those “life” moments that my mother never had the chance to experience…….and crossing the finish line of the half marathon would prove I was alive, that I survived and that I am thriving.

So, for me, not completing the half marathon was not a choice. I NEEDED to complete this race. And having to make the decision was ripping my heart out. EVERY time that I thought about not racing had my tears flowing. The emotions were hard to get past and the emotions were what I was basing my decision on………

Until……..

The day we left for Florida, walking through the airport, the pain shooting through my foot…..I knew then that I would not be able to complete the 13.1 miles. I could hardly walk to my gate. So, I made the decision while sitting in the airport that I would be there to support my husband and soon–to-be daughter-in-law, while they ran the half marathon and I would be there to support my son and his fiancé’s sister as they ran the full marathon. I was sad. I felt that I had given in to defeat.

But then my husband asked me what I had accomplished this year and what my mother would say to me. I have come a long way this year…..I stepped outside my comfort zone a number of times and I said “yes” more than I said “no” to experiences that sometimes brought fear to me and tested me. And this year I discovered just how strong I can be. I also had a HUGE shift in my mindset when it comes to exercise. This year I saw my son get engaged, something my mother never got to do. And I went Wedding Dress shopping, something mom and I looked forward to when I grew up. I LIVED this year instead of just existing and I learned to take better care of me. My mom would be so proud of me and of all the changes I have made and how I challenged myself to get out of my comfort zone and try something new.

So, I was not going to walk the half marathon that I had committed to almost a year ago. But that didn’t mean I wouldn’t do it. And as I picked up my race bib and t-shirt from the expo, with tears in my eyes, I told my husband that I WILL complete this half marathon when my foot heals and then he could give me my shirt. I wouldn’t have my medal, so the race shirt would be my reward……..

And then mother nature stepped in and in a twist, the half marathon was canceled because of lightening. This meant that all of those registered to run the half marathon would get their medals at the expo. And my husband and I spent time this morning when he should have been running and I should have been supporting him, at the expo.

When the young lady handed me my medal she sweetly asked if I wanted to wear it and I said “No thanks, I am not wearing it until I finish my 13.1 miles, when I will have earned it.”

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And finish it, I WILL! And mom will be right there smiling proudly.

Look Mom, we made it!

It was July 1996 and we were on a road trip from South Dakota to Massachusetts, via a route that took us south to North Carolina and then up the east coast to our destination—my husband’s parents in Massachusetts.

On our way up the east coast, we stopped in Washington DC. This was my first time on the east coast and my first time in our Nation’s capital. I was in the 7th grade, when I first had an opportunity to travel to Washington DC as part of our school trip for spring break. My mom was a working single mom and couldn’t afford the entire trip, but she really wanted me to go so she called my dad, who had not been paying child support for years and asked him to pay half of the cost and she would cover the other half. My dad said no. And I could see the pain in mom’s eyes as she told me I would not be able to go. It was okay, I understood and I let it go.

I never thought I would make it there. And then I did as part of our trip across the U.S. for our move to Turkey.

As I walked the National Mall toward the Lincoln Memorial, in the pouring rain from a tropical storm that followed us up the coast and soaked to the bone, I talked to mom. “Look mom, I’m here….I finally made it!” I know mom was with me that day, smiling and thrilled that I finally made it to one of my “bucket list” places.

Yesterday was THAT kind of day. As my year started on my 51st birthday, I was dreading this year……and scared I wouldn’t live longer than my mom or that I would miss out on all that she had missed. So my husband, my rock and biggest supporter, made plans for us to attend the Rose Parade in Pasadena. He knew the parade was one of the things that my mom and I had dreamed of attending together. What better time to do it than the year I found myself holding my breath….a celebration of not just surviving but thriving this year.

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So, on New Year’s Day, with tickets in hand we drove to Pasadena. I was thrilled and excited. A bucket list item….a HUGE bucket list item was about to be realized and I knew mom was with me.

Yesterday, before the sun was up, we left our hotel room for the parade. It was exhilarating! We parked and with thousands of others, we headed to our viewing spot….in the stands with reserved seats. And we waited for the parade to start, talking with others as the bleachers filled in. The excitement was contagious.

And just before the parade started the seats next to me filled in…….well two of the seats did. The seat next to me was EMPTY…..this was my mom’s seat.

And I felt her sitting there next to me……bouncing to the beat of the marching bands as they played in front of our stands……..oohing and aahing over the floats, amazed at the size and beauty of them. And I could feel her joy at seeing this parade in person……just like we had dreamed of doing.

Yes, mom was there with me….and I whispered to her, “Look mom, we made it! We are here!”